By Salma Awwad
Why London is the preferred location for Arabs seeking cosmetic surgery and what procedures they are requesting
Global demand for cosmetic treatments is on the rise, with an increase of 17 percent on the previous year in the UK alone, according to The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.
In the UAE, interest in cosmetic procedures also are in high demand, yet there isn’t a single country in the Middle East which is in the top 20 locations in the world for cosmetic surgery - Saudia Arabia is the closest at 23rd.
According to the International Medical Travel Journals, 90 percent of Arabs who leave the Middle East to have cosmetic surgery performed come to Europe, and more than half of them choose London for their treatments. Leading clinics such as Cadogan Clinic in London are therefore seeing a dramatic increase in the number of people from the UAE travelling to the UK for their cosmetic procedures which they perceive is of superior quality.
“In our field, I find Arabs like to be treated away from home; it’s a little bit more discrete. They like our standards and our care and they know us. We tend to see people and then they come back with their families or friends. There’s quite a lot of word of mouth from patients from the UAE which is resulting in an overall increase,” said Dr Bryan Mayou, Cadogan Clinic’s founder and Consultant Plastic Surgeon.
In the UK, the industry was worth $4 billion in 2010 and is forecast to reach $6.2 billion by 2015. An incredible double digit rise was reported in 2013 across all procedures and much of this relates to the growth in medical tourism.
Dr Mayou opened Cadogan Clinic, a private clinic located right in the middle of Chelsea on Sloane street, six years ago. He is credited with pioneering liposuction in the UK over thirty years ago, which saw a staggering 41 percent increase in demand last year.
“I brought this new technique of liposuction from France into the country from Paris and taught other people to do it. In those days, in private practice in London, there weren’t that many plastic surgeons. There were probably half a dozen with an actual cosmetic practice. But now there are lots,” said Dr Mayou.
“When I opened this clinic, I simply wanted to do things at a very high standard and focus on this field with specialised staff. I hold myself to this extremely high standard or even better both surgically and technically.”
And the Middle East is taking notice. Cadogan Clinic is a popular choice amongst UAE patients, even though it charges premium prices for its procedures.
“You get what you pay for and maybe our clinic is slightly more expensive but it’s justified by the higher standards and what you actually get. London has changed, we are very fortunate to have all these important and wealthy people from the Middle East who all want to live around us and we benefited hugely from that,” he added.
The most popular treatments in demand from visitors from the UAE include:
- Bodyjet Liposuction: Also known as ‘Water Liposuction’, this technique removes unwanted body fat using a pulse of saline fluids to gently dislodge fat for removal. “We help knock the fat loose with this jet of water and then use that to remove the fat. It’s a mechanical technique that does not introduce complications and is very safe,” explains Dr Mayou.
According to him, something he particularly sees in men from the UAE is a “protruding tummy”.
“It’s seen quite a bit in the UAE and we’ve certainly seen quite a number of slim men but with a protruding tummy. This might be due to the contents of the abdominal cavity but some of it is due to subcutaneous fat and by removing that you can really transform somebody’s silhouette. At the same time we might remove some fat from the loins and from the male breast as well,” he added.
-FAMI Non Surgical Facelift: An alternative technique to the traditional facelift to treat the signs of ageing on the face by transferring fat from another part of the body and injecting it into the facial muscles.
“The days of those very deep face-lifts, which take ages to get over and they’re very uncomfortable is more or less over. When we inject the fat, we also inject the stem-cells. Fat is the biggest source of stem cells and it has this remarkable quality to improving the tissues that they’re put into.
“Arab skin is really good quality anyway. Of all the people in the world, I always think that the Arab ladies have this remarkably good skin, not just the face, but all over the body. It’s a much thicker quality which I’m afraid we’re all jealous about here.”
- Swan Neck Lift: Costing £4500 ($4,269), this surgical treatment was pioneered by Cadogan Cosmetics and uses a combination of treatments including fat transfer and liposuction to reshape the skin around the neck and jaw.
“Some people who get the so-called turkey neck with the hanging skin in the middle of the neck. The face is not really a problem. We do this procedure that is very non-invasive under local anesthetic so people can walk in and walk out,” he said.
According to Dr Mayou, the trend is clearly leaning towards cosmetic procedures with minimum incisions and downtime.
Patients who are on a medical trip want to get over their surgery that much quicker and look perfectly good within a few days, therefore, finding locations that provide the latest and most reliable techniques is key.