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Make-overs: Boon or bane?

Cosmetic surgery is neither a luxury today nor is it gender restricted. The Goan peels off the layers to check whether beauty is only skin deep

Bharati Pawaskar / The Goan   27 October 2012

Looking beautiful or handsome is every individual’s desire and the increasing awareness for self-improvement has taken the demand for cosmetic surgery to an all time high in India and abroad.

India was hit by the wave in the early 1970s when the first cosmetic surgeon in India Dr Narendra Pandya took the credit for starting these surgeries way back in 1971. Sharing his experience of four decades Dr Pandya, 73, admits, “In my practice of 40 years in India I have witnessed the cosmetic surgery undergo a facelift and most aesthetic surgeons can now offer a predictable, safe and economical option for looking beautiful and younger.”

Padmashri Dr Ashok Gupta, Board of Governors - Medical Council of India during his speech early this year at Wockhardt Institute of Aesthetics, had disclosed, “In the US seven billion Americans undergo cosmetic surgeries in a year and Goa is getting recognition as a global destination for aesthetic surgeries.”

Goa, along with the metro cities is gaining weight as a cosmetic surgery centre on the medical tourism map and most corporate hospitals offer cosmetic procedures under various packages to foreigners as well as locals. Though the expenditure of locals is less in Goa as compared to the metros, tourists and visitors from the UK, USA and Australia tend to spend more as they can rest and relax after surgery in Goa.

The cost of these surgeries abroad is nearly three times higher. Goa has seen a rise in medical visas so as to allow foreigners a longer stay for the procedures and follow ups. People from other states also prefer Goa. The male-female ratio in cosmetic procedures is 50-50, sources from medical industry say.

Dr Rajiv P Usgaocar, specialist in reconstruction, hand, micro and cosmetic surgeries points out at the feel good factor, “All want to look and feel good. Generally people who undergo aesthetic surgical procedures are normal, healthy persons and not patients. As they do not want to know the world about it, they go out of their state or country to maintain privacy and secrecy. The plastic surgeon treats the deformed into normal but the aesthetic surgeon tries to give a normal person enhanced beauty, which is a difficult task. The risks are not zero and there is need for psychological stability post operation because if the expectations of the receiver are not realistic he may remain dissatisfied with the new look.”

Dr Mohan Thomas, Cosmetic Surgery Institute (CSI), Panjim shares, “People in Goa are very clear about their requirements and very choosy about the surgeons. They prefer a good result over bargains and hence rely on experience. With the increasing number of tourists visiting Goa, cosmetic surgery is on the rise, especially with medical tourism.”

True, a pleasant appearance may open doors to many opportunities and happiness, especially at a time when the global persona of beautification is undergoing a total metamorphosis. But can beauty be only skin deep, is the question that remains largely unanswered.

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