Cosmetic Surgery is booming in UAE, data says

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5th on the list were tummy tucks – a bariatric treatment to remove excess flesh on the abdomen – a common surgery for those who have lost a significant amount of weight. The average price for this surgical procedure is 33,889dh and has increased by 153% this year.

Fat transfer also known as fat grafting or fat injection, is one of the newer treatments generating interest among cosmetic surgery patients. Enquiries are up 169%, and the treatment has an average cost of 21,850dh. Fat transfer is really a two-part treatment, that begins with liposuction to harvest donor fat from one area of the patient’s body, to be ‘replanted’ in other areas, such as the face, hands, breasts or buttocks. The patient’s own fat is considered more natural than fillers. Skill is needed to ensure the fat transferred grows in the new area, and a small proportion of the transferred fat can be reabsorbed into the body, so several treatments may be needed to create the desired effect.

Another treatment that has become recently popular is laser vaginal rejuvenation. Enquiries rose 215% over the past year, with the procedure costing 21,167dh on average.

Demand for eyelid surgery – the procedure to correct droopy eyelids by removing excess skin, muscle or fat – has seen a considerable surge in interest over the past year as enquiries are up by 245%. This procedure costs an average of 15,895dh.

Rounding off the top ten, buttock implants have also risen in popularity with a 97% increase in enquiries in the past year with an average price of 39,500dh.

Although not featured on this year’s list, facelifts have been rising in popularity over the past 12 months and are likely to make the top ten in 2016. Enquiries have risen by 346% since 2014, and patients can expect to pay 30,833dh, on average.

Top ten most popular cosmetic surgery procedures in the UAE in 2015

based on enquiries to private clinics listed on WhatClinic.com

Procedure Increase in enquiries from last year Average starting price

(in Dirham)

Liposuction 154% 20,981dh
Rhinoplasty 104% 23,885dh
Gynecomastia 70% 21,296dh
Breast Implants 87% 26,515dh
Tummy Tuck 153% 33,889dh
Fat Transfer 169% 21,850dh
Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation 215% 21,167dh
Eyelid surgery 245% 15,895dh
Breast Lift 125% 34,678dh
Butt Implants 97% 39,500dh

A quarter (25%) of all cosmetic surgery enquiries were from overseas patients. Over the past twelve months, enquiries from Saudi Arabia have increased by 308%, Oman enquiries are up 188% and enquiries from Qatar have increased by 51%. Further away, enquiries from UK patients have seen a 295% rise in the past year.

Commenting on this trend, Wima Akl, Surgical Services Coordinator at American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital, Dubai, said: “Over the past two years we have seen a significant increase in cosmetic surgery patients at AACSH. Patients are coming to Dubai from all over the Emirates, but also from other countries such as those in the GCC. The main reason is we have a lot of international experts here, including surgeons who are American board certified, so people don’t need to go to the US. It’s easier and cheaper for patients to come to Dubai and they have access to the same level of care and expertise here.

“Another reason for this boom is the increased access to choice and information online. Generally speaking, Internet and social media have played a huge role in the rise of this industry, and people are more comfortable talking about cosmetic surgery now. Newest technologies and techniques are also making the procedures safer, with less risks and shorter recovery times.”

Emily Ross, Director of What Clinic, said: “Our data shows that cosmetic surgery is most definitely a growing market. The UAE has positioned itself as a centre of excellence for private healthcare and this investment has clearly paid off. A quarter of all enquiries are from overseas patients and this figure continues to grow, showing that the UAE is becoming a top global destination for elective procedures, and a very real alternative to US travel for patients in a number of key markets.

“We encourage all patients to do their research before they travel for any kind of procedure. Speak to a number of specialists until you find one that you are comfortable with. If you do decide to go overseas, be realistic about recovery time and getting home, and make sure you are informed about possible risks and insurance requirements”

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