Saturday, 11th July 2020

This Month's Magazine
The plastic surgeon scalpel.Vanity or necessity?

The plastic surgeon scalpel.Vanity or necessity?

I may be a coward, but I have always believed I should do my best to keep well away from any surgical operation, I always dreaded the possibility that I might even have to have an appendix removed.

Well! I am not a man made robot, a machine with parts that can be removed or replaced, on the other hand, kidney transplants, and heart replacements have certainly made the difference between life and death for many, therefore necessary.

Surgery is a serious procedure with consequences that can be good but also bad. When it is a question of helping someone improve their health and achieve results that will improve the quality of life and even lengthen it, I can understand it. What I cannot understand is the voluntary submission to the scalpel just to improve looks.

Of course there are circumstances when plastic surgery is needed in order to correct a natural deformity or to remove a cancerous growth or correct an accidental disfiguration and improve the quality of life of an individual, as for instance in the case of disfiguration caused by fire.

But is it worth taking a risk; the risk that things may actually go seriously wrong? Unfortunately, despite the risk, some people find a deep necessity to look different and try to match their imaginary body image and love themselves.

Of course the procedure can be a complete success and you can achieve the desired result, however do ponder on it seriously before taking the plunge. The surgeon should make sure that you are the right candidate for the procedure and even show you photos of cases when things have gone wrong. Most importantly give you the time to think before you decide.

Bear in mind that some people are more susceptible to plastic surgery complications than others; for example those who are obese and the elderly. It is advisable to discuss your intentions and concerns with your doctor and at the same time learning as much as possible about the procedure. 

Many patients who sign up for plastic surgery or Botox injections are not being informed about the risks. Unethical sales techniques include cosmetic surgery as competition prizes, special offers with a time limit, 2 4 1 deals and others. Cosmetic surgeries are not supermarkets and the procedures are not potatoes.

As an example, some 47,000 British women were fitted with cheap implants filled with an industrial-grade silicone meant for mattresses, six times more likely to rupture than other brands. The discovery certainly created a panic among women trying to find out what implant they had.

CHINA performs more cosmetic surgery than any country except America and Brazil and botched surgery complaints reached 20,000 a year. As many as 70% of China’s cosmetic procedures take place in unlicensed salons that offer simple procedures; “some doctors, badly paid in state-run hospitals, moonlight in illegal salons”.


There are about 423 clinics that provide Plastic Surgery in Spain, now said to be the cosmetic surgery capital of Europe. Spain is the most popular foreign destination for seeking to undergo cosmetic surgery abroad, probably because Spain is also a desirable holiday destination and it is convenient to travel to the Costas for treatment ensuring the surgery coincides with the break that will be taken anyway.

It is estimated that ½ million procedures take place yearly and carried out by the 900 state registered plastic surgeons, however there are another 6,000 unregistered also practicing.
The standard of medical training is Spain is very high and the training for plastic surgery requires an additional 5 years after the medical degree. One must make sure and carefully check the surgeon’s credentials before submitting to his knife, if they speak your language it does not mean that they are registered in Spain under the same stringent training requirements.

The qualifications that you need to look for are issued by the Asociación Española de Cirugia Estetica Plástica (Spanish Society for Cosmetic Surgery), that is “Titulo de Medico especialista en cirugia plastica y Repadora”. If the certificate states ‘licenciado’ it means licensed to practice medicine but not surgery.

Compared to Eastern Europe or South America plastic surgery is not cheap in Spain, but then it is not as distant and as expensive to travel to within Europe. Members of the European Union, are entitled to receive medical treatment in Spain, but corrective cosmetic treatments do not qualify.

Although Spain leads in number of European cosmetic surgery with an estimated 400,000 operations each year, strangely enough 10% of patients are under eighteen years old.
The most common problems known to arise from plastic surgery are as follow:

  • Hematoma (bruising) - Most common after a face lift and in 5% of breast augmentation.
  • Nerve Damage - Numbness and tingling are common after plastic surgery and can be signs of nerve damage.
  • Infection - This is a common complication of plastic surgery sometimes requiring antibiotics.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism - caused by blood clots. Sometimes it can be fatal.
  • Scarring
  • General Appearance Dissatisfaction - You might not like the look.
  • Organ Damage - Visceral perforations or punctures can occur when the surgical probe comes into contact with internal organs, needing more surgery.
  • Anaesthesia Complications - General anaesthesia can sometimes lead to complications
  • Haemorrhage - Blood loss even internally, after surgery.

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