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Cosmetic surgery, not only leads to better looks but also better lives

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varun-dixitDr. Varun Dixit is a trained and qualified Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeon. Born and studied in Mumbai, Dr. Dixit received his medical degree with honors from University of Mumbai. Subsequently, he did his post-graduate surgical training from the same institute leading to M.S. (General Surgery) and M.Ch. (Plastic Surgery).

He also has the rare honor of standing first and securing Gold Medals at both M.S. (General Surgery) and M.Ch. (Plastic Surgery) examinations from the University of Mumbai. He is also a Fellow of the Diplomate of National Board (D.N.B.) for Plastic Surgery. Following this extensive training in Plastic Surgery, he further honed his skills in Cosmetic Surgery by working with Dr. Tariq Saeed, who is an American Board certified cosmetic and plastic surgeon.

Since then, he has been a Consultant Cosmetic and Plastic surgeon at premiere hospitals and institutes in Mumbai. He has been regularly performing various cosmetic surgery procedures spanning the wide spectrum of Cosmetic Surgery.  In an interview with our Editor in Chief Vaidehi Sachin, Dr. Parag Telang spoke about the difference between non-surgical weight reduction and surgical way of losing weight and liposuction.

As a cosmologist what are those biggest myths about beauty that you want to clarify? I mean by performing surgeries anyone can become anybody?

First let me clear the concept of cosmetologist and cosmetic surgeon. Cosmetologists are primarily dermatologists (qualification: M.D. – Dermatology) who have specialized into providing minimally invasive surgical procedures along with other skin related cosmetic procedures (skin polish, peels, laser etc). Cosmetic Surgeons are primarily plastic surgeons (qualification: M.Ch or DNB – Plastic Surgery) who are specialized into performing aesthetic surgery procedures.

The concept of beauty cannot be confined to rigid “ideal” parameters. The concept is subjective as well as abstract. Therefore, any procedure that aims to enhance “beauty” cannot be stereotyped. Therefore, the job of a cosmetic surgeon is to customise the procedure to the patient’s goals. However, every procedure has its limitations and 3D ramifications. Certain features on the face can be changed to make them similar to the features of another person. However, it is not possible to alter the basic built of a person and obviously the innate personality of a person. Today, certain features on the face can be altered by surgical procedures which were earlier thought to be impossible. Thus, a person can be made to look similar to another person using facial contouring surgery but not exactly the same. Moreover, these changes may not look entirely natural or good on a person.

Recently many deaths have occurred due to liposuction, however safe it may be?

Conventional liposuction as it is performed today was devised way back in 1974. The basic technique has evolved over the decades into a very safe and reliable procedure. There are certain safety guidelines that must be adhered for a safe outcome. Liposuction must be performed by trained and qualified cosmetic surgeons only. Patient must be medically and mentally fit to undergo this procedure. Patient must stop smoking at least 5-7 days before and after the procedure.

Just as one would look left or right before safely crossing the road, one must adhere to safety protocols of surgery and anaesthesia at all times. At the same time, it is extremely hazardous to cross on a freeway and is often prohibited.

What is the biggest difference between non-surgical weight reduction and surgical way of losing weight?

Liposuction is not a weight loss surgery. It is a body contouring surgery – where “inches” are lost and loss of “kilograms” is only a by-product. Bariatric surgery is meant for weight reduction. Most non-surgical weight reduction devices are over-hyped and often lead to disappointing results. These devises are invaluable for small “bulges and pouches” and temporary. The only non-surgical weight reduction method that is universally effective is – proper diet control and regular exercises. Bariatric surgery works very well in a vast majority of cases but yet not given 100% results. Sometimes, the disappointment comes when patient put high goal. That is, a person weighs 120 kg and he wants to lose 40 kilograms but possibly can lose only 25 kgs. This will disappoint the patience. However, he can bridge this gap with proper diet and exercise.

What are the biggest challenges that you face as a doctor?

By far, patients with unrealistic expectations are the biggest challenge. I do not hesitate to refuse surgery for any patient with unrealistic aspirations from surgery e.g. it is impossible to change a very broad, bulky and fleshy nose to a very thin pinched nose (like that of a Caucasian). The other big challenge is performing any corrective surgery for a patient who has had an unsatisfactory procedure elsewhere. Patients often don’t realise that scarring and altered anatomy due to the previous surgery significantly affects further surgical modifications.

Is it affordable for the common man?

Today, cosmetic surgery is no longer restricted to the affluent or elite. I routinely perform cosmetic surgeries for patients belonging to the entire socio-economic spectrum of society. I do bit of social service by significantly reducing my remunerations for a deserving candidate. Most doctors are here to do “good” for their patients and not just to themselves.

Who should undergo such treatments and what are the do’s and don’ts of surgical beautification?

Anybody can opt for cosmetic surgery. Some standard exceptions are as follows:

  1. Patients below 18 years of age are not ideal for cosmetic surgery.
  2. Patients should be convinced about the procedure and not coerced to do it.

The most important factor is to choose the correct doctor. A trained, qualified cosmetic surgery specialized in cosmetic surgery would be an obvious choice. Patients must check the doctors’ credentials and not blindly rely on advertisements. In India, M.Ch (Master of Chirurgie) and DNB (Diplomate of National Board) are the only two legal qualifications for a plastic and cosmetic surgeon.

Furthermore, the results are never instantaneous. There is a recovery process during which the result sets in. Some unsatisfactory outcomes can be effectively reversed or significantly improved by subsequent procedures.

What are the risks involved in such procedures?

Every procedure has certain potential risks! Even paracetamol can be potentially fatal! However, certain problems like bruising, swelling are self-limiting. Some problems like seromas (fluid collection) can be effectively remedied by a simple procedure. Some other problems like unsatisfactory result may require subsequent corrective surgery.

How much desired change can be guaranteed by doctors?

Any patient who asks for “guarantees” is a potentially problematic patient. Today, there is nothing that comes with a guarantee, only warranty (smile). Further, cosmetic surgery is a delicate balance between surgical science and artistry. Individual patient who has trouble with healing properties can further complicate this delicate equation example a patient with keloidal tendency is very likely to develop thickened scars irrespective of the standard of surgery.

Do people suffer from any identity crises issues after facial surgery?

Some patients who have had facial surgery do face a difficult situation of coming to terms with their “new face”. This is commonly seen when multiple changes are performed simultaneously on them (e.g. nose job + cheek augmentation + chin augmentation + removal of buccal fat can dramatically change facial contours). Nowadays, certain softwares are available wherein the face (photo) may be altered to simulate the post-operative outcome. This is not meant as a prediction but more as a guideline to choose the extent of surgery.

Most patients eventually come to terms with their new face. However, I have had a couple of patients who insisted and had their surgery reversed within a few weeks after surgery.

Have you ever faced awkward situations from patients?

Being a shy person, I face awkward situations quite frequently when patients express extreme gratitude and compliment me for a job well done. I guess, the most awkward moment has been when a patient told me that I had given her what even God could not.

Patients are “walking talking billboards” for doctors. A happy patient will never hesitate to recommend his/her cosmetic surgeon to a friend. Obviously, no cosmetic surgeon would intentionally do an inadequate procedure or anything that will cause complications.

Do people undergo surgeries as they crave for looking more beautiful or is it due to circumstances?

Cosmetic surgery is not merely for enhancement of looks and beautification but goes a long way in boosting patient morale and self-confidence. In my practice, I have witnessed patient metamorphosing from introvert girl before cosmetic surgery to confident young girl after surgery. At her first consultation, she barely made eye contact with me but a few weeks after surgery she was sharing jokes with me! Further cosmetic surgery and anaesthesia techniques are very safe.

What is your message to our readers?

Cosmetic surgery, not only leads to better looks but also better lives. Cosmetic surgery works.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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