The trend of cosmetic surgery is increasing tremendously in India. We rank among the top 10 countries with successful skilled surgeons and the most number of cosmetic procedures being performed at less expensive costs. Women, men, and youth have become more aware and educated about the pros of cosmetic surgeries and are considering various procedures, such as tummy tuck, liposuction, lip fillers, botox, and the newly advanced 'mommy makeover'. Dr. Thomas Joe, a Cosmetic, Reconstructive, and Microvascular surgeon involved in an intellectual conversation with Asianet News to shed some light regarding the same and burst a few myths surrounding cosmetic surgeries.


Excerpts from the interview:

Q: How is cosmetic surgery different from other surgery? 

In cosmetic surgery, we are trying to take something normal and try to make it look better. Cosmetic surgery is a part of plastic surgery. Plastic surgery has two branches i.e cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery, which's when we try to repair and reconstruct the defects of the person, by operating or doing a procedure on the parts that are injured or lost. For example, children with defects or people who faced defects due to major accidents. So we try to repair that, which is called reconstructive surgery while cosmetic surgery is making the normal look even better. 


Q: People highly mistaken cosmetic surgery as beauty procedures, but it also has other benefits? If you could shed some light? 

Yes, people have mistaken it all the time. For example, Rhinoplasty is not only done to repair or beautify the nose. But it also comes in handy for people who have breathing problems or crooked noses after accidents because anatomy inside the nose can be a little altered. We try to look at both sides inside and outside, and we try to combine both cosmetic and reconstructive parts. 

Q: How has the whole change been in terms of cosmetic surgery in India, with increased awareness and concern?

The statistics in terms of cosmetic surgery in India, has been very astonishing. 15 years back, the number of such surgeries done in India was very few. Now we are in the top 10 countries and number 4 position. Now hair transplantation and liposuction surgeries have increased tremendously in the country. 

Q: What are the factors that have given the rise in the number of cosmetic surgery in India? 

There is a lot more awareness, and now people are not ashamed to come and ask that they want to make this body part better. Even the average income of people has increased in the : last few decades. In our country, surgeries are less expensive. We have foreigners coming here during holidays and getting themselves operated. Over 10-15 percent of surgeries are done on foreigners. 

Q: What age group of people is opting for cosmetic surgery the most? 

Only young people getting operated is a myth. Many patients from their 50's or late 40's come for botox, tummy tuck, or even hair transplantation surgeries. It's a wide spectrum that we see these days. 


Q: What's the ratio currently of men and women opting for these surgeries? 

Hair transplantation is our highly done procedure, so men too are highly conscious about their bodies and looks. While women come for breast surgeries or mommy makeover'. After a child's birth, many women feel that their body parts have lost elasticity, then we tighten the parts of the body that go loose to fix the elasticity. So we can say the ratio is quite equal. 


Q: Can you share a bit more about Mommy Makeover? 

It's a procedure done on women after giving birth to a child to restore the elasticity of certain parts of the body such as breasts or abdomen. Very rarely women along for vaginal tightening or additional procedures to get that hourglass figure. 

Q: What things should a person keep in mind before cosmetic surgery, and how should one refrain from believing myths from the internet?

Any person should not opt for cosmetic surgery because they are under peer pressure. It should be totally their own decision to get themselves operated on. A person must do their homework properly and only go to a certified surgeon for procedures. They should follow a good diet and refrain from smoking and consuming alcohol for a few months before the surgery, as advised by the doctor. The patients are also pre-tested by a physician before they are declared fit to get operated on. We also tell all the complications to the patient involved in any surgery, be it liposuction, Brazilian butt-lift, or any such procedures. We keep the patient involved, so they feel like being part of the process. 

Q: How has the trend of surgery being after lockdown?

We stopped operating on active cases during the start of lockdown. But post that, we have a major rise in the number of patients. Maybe they had more free time they had put on weight, so the number of people asking for liposuction has increased tremendously.