The United Arab Emirates has seen tremendous growth in the past few years. From architectural achievements, to taking the spot as host of Expo 2020, and their plans to make the country a medical destination for tourists.
According to Gulf News, Dubai attracted 260,000 medical tourists in the first half of 2015, up 12% from the same period a year ago, and generated Dh1 billion in revenue during the period. Asian tourists accounted for 33% of the total, followed by visitors from Europe with 27% and GCC and other Arab countries with 23%.
Shahed Syed, business development and marketing manager at Cocoona Centre for Aesthetic Transformation, said that the popular treatments among medical tourists at the center include liposuction, hair transplant and cosmetic surgery. Most of the tourists are from the GCC, the UK, US and Nigeria, he added.
Pressure from the media, society and culture along with advancements in aesthetic procedures continue to fuel the demand for cosmetic surgery in the UAE. World-renowned plastic surgeons have patients flying in from all over the Middle East for procedures. The high demand they’ve been seeing from the region has given doctors the idea to open clinics in the UAE.
In an earlier interview between The Khaleej Times and star of the famous “Dr 90210” television show, Doctor Jason Diamond stated: “The anti-ageing business is a multi-billion dollar global industry. The Middle East continues to witness growing demand for products and services, which has attracted an increasing number of physicians to open clinics locally. I have many people fly from the Middle East to see me, including a large number of royalties. I have taken care of patients from Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, Iran and Egypt.”
When asked about her feelings towards cosmetic surgery, Sarah who is a 21 year old student at the American University in Dubai said: “Plastic surgery is so scary. I want to do my nose but I’m too scared something will go wrong.”
Beauty standards vary depending on the country but according to the American Society of Plastic surgeons the top five procedures done around the world in 2014 include breast augmentation, nose reshaping, liposuction, eyelid surgery, and facelift. In the United States of America the most common type of plastic surgery done is breast augmentation while liposuction takes the lead in the UAE.
Recent statistic from the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital (AACSH) stated that the number of cosmetic surgery procedures carried out on its premises in Dubai has increased by 15% from 2013 to 2014. Liposuction, abdominoplasty, breast surgery, cosmetic gynecology and rhinoplasty were the hospital’s top five cosmetic surgeries performed in 2014.
During 2014, liposuction was the top cosmetic surgery in demand in the hospital, with procedures increasing by 19.3% from 2013 to 2014. Breast procedures – including augmentation, lift and reduction – increased by 7.4% from 2013 to 2014, with abdominoplasty up 3%. The figures also revealed a gender breakdown of patients – with 77.1% of cosmetic procedures requested by females, while men requested 22.9% of the procedures.
When asked about his feelings about the rise of cosmetic surgery in the UAE, Saeed who is a 22 year old university student stated: “I think Arab women have done too much plastic surgery but I never noticed any man who has done some. I don’t understand why they have to do so much.”
Most people living in the UAE have a high standard of living and are able to afford cosmetic procedures. The reasons behind why people choose to have cosmetic surgery procedures done varies from genetic defects, accidents causing deformities, aging, confidence issues and even wanting to look like a certain celebrity
“They all want small and upturned noses like Haifa Wehbe and Nancy Ajram,” says Dr Luiz Toledo, a Brazilian plastic surgeon living in Dubai and practicing in his Jumeirah clinic since 2005. “40% of my clientele is local while 80% of them are female and the other 20% are male. They know exactly what they want.”
Hospitals in the country offer a high standard of care, and the fact that the UAE is located in the middle of the eastern and the western nations makes it an excellent location for travellers. But regardless of the reasons behind people’s decisions to undergo cosmetic procedures there’s not doubt that the industry is rapidly growing in the UAE.