their failures in professional life on their looks, which may not always be true,” he says.
“What makes cosmetic surgery different from other surgeries is the fact that there is nothing medically wrong with the patient’s body in the first place. It only involves improvising on what is already fine,” explains Dr Murarka. “In fact there are cases of doctors being sued after surgery by patients who came with unrealistic expectations.”
But even if a reputable cosmetic surgeon rejects a dubious case, the patient may go elsewhere for the fix. Anyone with a medical degree—even if he has not specialized in plastic surgery—can do cosmetic procedures in India. Even nurses and beauticians do less invasive treatments, such as using injectables and “anti-aging” treatments. The bottom line is buyer beware!
“It is mandatory for all APSI members to have done a structured course in plastic surgery from a recognized university or medical centre and obtained an MCh or DNB,” says Dr Sabapathy. “However, this does not deter patients from approaching unqualified or underqualified doctors who stand to gain in such a situation.”
Take your call
Any surgery is risky and unnecessary cosmetic surgeries are no exception. Consider the recent case of comedian Vivek Shauq, 47, who was in TV’s Flop Show. A heart patient, Shauq had undergone an angioplasty in 2003 and was on blood-thinning medicines, which he discontinued before a liposuction operation in early January 2011. Hours after this fat reducing procedure, Shauq’s situation became critical. The liposuction triggered a cardiac arrest that killed him.
Cosmetic surgery certainly requires patients to be courageous enough to endure the pain and trouble that follow. But it also takes a certain courage to choose not to modify your appearance. “Cosmetic surgery is a quick fix to the natural process of aging and the pace of aging, to a large extent, depends on our lifestyle,” says Dr Pratima Rajan of Mumbai’s SevenHills Health City, and former head of the Department of Preventive and Rehabilitation Medicine at the city’s Jaslok Hospital. Dr Rajan, who also runs workshops on what she calls The Art of Healthy Aging, says, “You are what you eat. You can age gracefully by simply choosing to live and eat a healthy diet. Processes lead to further processes and the after-effects could lead to inflammation, infections, injury, numbness in the operated body part as well as permanent scarring.”
Conditioned by the media or by people we admire, every era sets its standards of beauty. “It all begins in the mind,” says Dr Rajan. “We must learn to love ourselves for what we are.”
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