Mirror, mirror, on the wall
Show me the fairest one of them all…
Once upon a time before the days of the fashion magazine, there was a beauty-conscious queen who asked her magic mirror this question, and it showed her featured Snow White, a nubile nymphet with washboard abs and porcelain skin. This gave the old dame a complex about her own crow's feet and cellulite-heavy thighs. She was so eager to find out the model's skin-tastic secrets, that she invited the girl out for lunch and since back then there were no mobile courts to monitor food quality, the model choked on a bad apple and the poor queen got a bad rap. Not only did she go down in history as the villainess, she also never got to find out where Snow White got her unnaturally awesome looks from.
Every one of us has a self-image, an idea of what we wish we looked like, and rarely do we achieve it. Who hasn't looked at the mirror and at some point or the other, not wished that s/he could change something about his/her appearance? "I wish I was fatter/thinner/taller/shorter…" How many times have you heard someone lament like this? How many times have you wished you could do something about your looks?
In the contemporary world of cut-throat competition, there's more to the self-image than mere narcissism; the image you project to the world could make or break you. Studies have shown that individuals who are more satisfied with the way they look are more confident about themselves, and that feel-good factor carries over to their performance. Unfortunately, wishing one looked a certain way is one thing; looking like one's self-image is another, and often all those lotions, potions, diets and workouts are just not enough. There's still hope, though. Enter the extreme makeover, where a person brings a permanent change, through surgical and other means, to some aspect of their appearance.
A little nip here, a little tuck there…
Plastic/cosmetic surgeons have been thriving for decades now. Basically, plastic surgery comprises both re-constructive and cosmetic surgery, which includes treating scars and serious disfigurements. Since we're using the term 'makeover', for this article, we will concentrate on the purely cosmetic aspect of these operations.
Some people might consider cosmetic surgery a drastic or last-ditch measure. Dr. Sayeed Ahmed Siddiky of the Cosmetic Surgery Centre Ltd., disagrees. He feels that for certain problems, the opportunity cost of the time, effort, and money spent on make up and other useless and potentially harmful treatments is much greater than getting rid of the problem through cosmetic surgery. "We feel that for certain problems, cosmetic surgery should be the first option."
The flab-ulous and the fat free
Modern man has been waging a war on fat for ages, with mixed results. Diets, health drinks, exercise…there's hardly anything we won't try to shed those onerous pounds. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. That doesn't mean you have to live with your big fat problem. There is always the option of liposuction, which involves the removal of excess fat from the body. The fat is liquefied, and then removed from the problem area by means of a thin metal tube and a special syringe. There is no visual scarring. The 'problem areas' include abdomen, hips, buttocks, flanks, back folds, double chins, thighs and arms. The Cosmetic Surgery Centre brochures claim that it reduces the chances of cholesterol-linked heart attacks and improves insulin tolerance.
Sometimes liposuction isn't enough to correct the problem, and may lead to unsightly folds of loose skin, the kind that also occurs from a sudden and rapid weight loss, due to excessive dieting. For either case, there are also options like brachioplasty (for flabby arms) and abdominoplasty (for those potbellies), where excess skin and fat are removed, and lax muscles are tightened.
Remember, though, that a lipo-suction is not a substitute for healthy living. Regular exercise and a balanced diet is strongly recommended whether you need the surgery or not.
In a conservative society like ours, people don't discuss bust size very often. Which is why, if your breasts are too big or two small, or a shape you don't like, you suffer in silence. Or not…
Mammoplasty, or breast surgery, has been the topic of much heated controversy, and comes in various types. A large percentage of mammoplasty patients, of course, want to grow a size or two bigger. Augmentation mammoplasty makes them bigger using silicone implants.
Reduction mammoplasty, as the name suggests, makes them smaller. Yes, not everyone wants to go the Pamela Anderson way. Over-large breasts have been linked with health complications such as back pain and bent postures.
Then there's also mastoplexy, where sagging breasts are uplifted through surgery.
As with any other surgery, these operations also involve risks such as infections or the rupture of the implants, but such occurrences are extremely rare, and Dr. Siddiky claims that there hasn't been a single such case at his clinic.
If Pinocchio had heard about this solution, he would have gone on for a career in law or politics and not bothered about his nose ruining his passport picture. There are several types of cosmetic surgeries that deal with the nose, and these are broadly lumped under the category of 'rhinoplasty'.
Once again, augmentation rhinoplasty increases the size of the nose. A small flat nose may be enlarged and provided with projection. A broad nose can be streamlined. A depressed deformity in the middle of the nose can be filled in, either using ear cartilage, or rib parts, or even silicone implants.
Just so, reduction rhinoplasty involves removing an abnormal hump or elevation from the nose, or shortening a long nose to an acceptable length.
If you're worried about scarring, just relax; these operations are done through the inside of the nose, so no one can actually tell you've had them done.
Light sabres ahoy!
For those afraid of the knife, there's another slightly less scary, but no less effective method, and that is laser surgery. Time-saving, painless and safe, laser surgery is widely popular in the West, and is gaining new ground here in the Desh.
Lasers have been in use in surgery for a long time now, even in Bangladesh, particularly for eye operations. However, the use of lasers in cosmetic medical procedures is still a very novel approach, at least in this country. While the traditional cosmetic surgery focuses on re-shaping your facial features and body, laser surgery concentrates on dermatological issues that you may have. The Cosmetic Surgery Centre in Dhanmondi has enjoyed the advantage of being the pioneer in clinics specialising in this field. It has newly introduced laser treatment into its list of services, which also include other non-surgical procedures, such as dermabrations. Another clinic that particularly specialises in laser treatment, is the Laser Medical Centre in Baridhara.
The Laser Medical Medical Centre provides a comprehensive list of surgical procedures involving lasers. Unsightly facial hairs? Get rid of them permanently with the Long-pulsed Nd: Yag lasers. These lasers are also used for reducing visible leg veins.
Acne scars marring the beauty of your face? Zap them with the Long-pulsed Diode laser, which also removes chicken pox scars and other facial scars, and can also be used to reduce visible open pores, and make wrinkles vanish.
While all this might make you sit up and heave a sigh of relief, let's not forget that everything comes at a cost, and many of these services come with hefty price tags. A nose job at the Cosmetic Surgery Centre can cost anything between Tk 25,000 to Tk 35,000. Implants cost from Tk 60,000 to 1 lakh or more. Smaller operations like mole removal cost between Tk 5000 to 7000. As for the treatments at the Laser Medical Centre, hair removal costs from between Tk 2000 to 6500; acne treatment and/or acne scar removal can cost you between Tk 1000 to 5500, while their anti-age combination therapies cost some Tk 10,000. So before you go for such a drastic measure, you should ask yourself if this is really what you need. After all, these are permanent measures, so once you've gone through them, you will literally never be the same again.
Cosmetic Surgery Centre Ltd is located at Shankar Plaza, 5th Floor, 72, Satmasjid Road, Dhanmondi R/A. For more information, visit www.cosmeticsurgbd.com
Laser Medical Centre is located at 71 & 73 Suhrawardy Avenue, Baridhara. For further information, visit www.lasermedicalbd.com
Disclaimer: We are aware that other hospitals and clinics perform plastic surgery, but we concentrated on the above-mentioned two because they are among the first to specialise in this field.
By Sabrina F Ahmad