(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Doctors in the UAE claim they have received a staggering amount of cases of botched plastic surgery victims, due to "unlicensed and unauthorised" doctors performing cosmetic procedures.
The procedures include buttocks enlargement, liposuction, breast augmentation, as well as facial botox and fillers.
Dr Leon Alexander, specialist plastic surgery, Universal Hospital, told Khaleej Times that he receives at least one patient every month who fell in the trap of an unlicensed practitioner.
"This shouldn't be happening, but the truth is - it is happening everywhere."
He shared a number of cases, which he noted has caused devastating outcomes for each victim.
"One lady had a breast augmentation in a clinic in Sharjah by an unlicensed cosmetic surgeon and she ended up with severe infection and absences in both breasts." He said the woman was in agonising pain and developed psychological problems due to her botched surgery.
"The procedure wasn't done in a proper and sterilised environment, which caused a collection of puss deep in the body."
Dr Alexander stressed that procedures must be done in an operating room under sterilised conditions, free of all bacteria and germs. But there are countless cases of patients who were operated on in the wrong environments, by the wrong hands.
He said that he has also received male patients who underwent unauthorised tummy-tuck procedures, with infections in the abdomen side.
"Various so-called doctors and clinics are putting people's lives in danger by performing procedures that they are legally not allowed to," he added.
"I have seen one company, which is a distributor for liposuction, conduct a workshop in a clinic in Abu Dhabi. The workshop was supposedly done by experts, but the person who was performing the procedure was unlicensed. Even the people assisting him were unlicensed. It was very shocking," he added.
Devastating consequences Dr Abdulbaqi Alkhatib, consultant plastic surgeon at Burjeel Hospital, said he too has witnessed far too many victims who have suffered from complications due to unauthrosied cosmetic procedures.
He pointed out that the complications of cosmetic procedures often include injection in the face and body.
"I have treated a considerable number of cases with complications after cosmetic procedures, surgical and non-surgical."
Some of the common complications after non-surgical cosmetic procedures include post-filler injection in the face.
"This includes lip necrosis, which causes the death of most or all cells in the organ, as well as swelling - infection, abscess of soft tissues and nodular granuloma."
Another popular cosmetic treatment - injection in the buttocks, also known as the 'Brazilian Butt Lift,' - has seen mountains of botched procedures.
The complications in the procedure also include nodular granuloma, infection and abscess formation, as well as severe migration of the product to other parts of the body.
"Most of these cases were done by non-professionals and are sometimes injected at home with unknown product or were done by doctors without enough medical experience," added Dr Alkhatib.
He stressed that treatment of these complications includes drainage of abscess and surgical removal of nodular granuloma. However, these procedures will leave multiple scars.
Dr Alkhatib said that unauthorised breast augmentation or breast reduction surgeries have also caused severe complications to many women in the UAE.
The complications include nipple and areola necrosis, skin necrosis, as well as asymmetry.
He has also seen patients who underwent abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) by unlicensed practitioners, and faced severe complications, including the re-opening of the wound, asymmetry, skin necrosis, hematoma - a solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues - and seroma, which is a pocket of clear serous fluid developed in the body after surgery.
"In my opinion, these complications occur because the procedure was performed by a surgeon without enough experience, or by a surgeon who was doing multiple procedures at the same stage, or by discharging the patient on the same day of the procedure."
Dr Leon Alexander said that although he continues to see countless victims, it still shocks him that unlicensed practitioners are putting people's lives in jeopardy.
He said that although the practitioners might be doctors, they often market themselves as cosmetic medicine experts, or cosmetic and anti-aging specialists.
"These are new terminologies they use, but they are not licensed to do these procedures, yet they market themselves as such and victims fall in their trap."
Dr Alexander said that it is thus crucial for all patients to know their rights before undergoing any procedure.
"Patients must know their rights, they should know that they have the right to ensure that the person performing the surgery is licensed and authorised."
Know your right as a patient, warn doctors All patients have the right to ensure that the doctor performing their procedure is authorised to do so, and must thus do their research before going under the knife, urged doctors in the UAE.
Dr Leon Alexander, specialist plastic surgery, Universal Hospital, said every patient undergoing a cosmetic surgery must first make sure that the doctor is a board certified plastic surgeon who has all the right credentials to operate.
"The public should be aware of that, and patients should not be fooled by the marketing gimmicks that give offers for cheaper procedures.
The gimmicks, often found online and through social media, promote cheaper procedures, no scars, no insertions, and other marketing strategies to attract the public.
"They are done to fool patients," Dr Alexander pointed out.
"People should demand that every centre displays its licence, the treating doctor's licence and prove his or her credentials."
He advised patients to look out for credentials, which he said should be displayed in either the clinic's reception or in the doctor's office.
He said the top cases of the botched surgeries that he has witnessed are liposuction, abdominoplasty and fat injections in the buttocks.
"A lot of severe complications are rising from these unauthorised procedures."
Dr Abdulbaqi Alkhatib, consultant plastic surgeon at Burjeel Hospital, advised all patients to do their research before giving any doctor the green light.
"I highly recommend to the general public to be diligent enough, research well, and know the qualifications and experience of the surgeon."
He said it is crucial for all patients to ask about the results of the surgeon's procedures, surgical or non-surgical, the medical facility where the surgeon works, the name of the product (filler, botox) to be injected and to never have procedures done at home.
Top three questions every patient must ask practitioner: 1) Are you a licensed and board-certified doctor and are you licensed by the Department of Health Abu Dhabi/Dubai Health Authority?
2) Ask details about the clinic and the procedure itself. For instance, if it is a face filler, ask about the type of filler the doctor will be using.
3) Ask about the technique of the procedure in general, how long the procedure will take, if there are specific precautions that one must take, such as resting days and medication.