Dr. Parag Telang, a Mumbai-based cosmetic and undoubtedly is the best plastic surgeon in the town. He is M.S and M.Ch certified from the well-known Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and General Hospital (LTMGH). He is also the Director and Chief Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon at Designer Bodyz, Centre for Advanced Cosmetic surgery that is the most preferred Plastic Surgery Clinic in Mumbai. The doctor has performed more than 4,000 successful cosmetic surgeries including face, body contouring, breast surgeries and ear reconstruction.
Read on as he engages in a freewheeling chat with Editor-in-Chief Dr Vaidehi Taman about his experience, dos and don’ts of plastic surgery, aesthetic procedures, biggest beauty myth and many more….
You are an award winning successful cosmetologist. Tell us what inspired you to enter in the beauty industry?
I had no plan as such to become a plastic surgeon. During my general surgery training, I got interested in plastic surgery. Of course, interest in aesthetic surgery came much later as I was finishing my plastic surgery residency.
As a cosmetologist, what are those biggest myths about beauty that you want to clarify?
Lot of people believe that cosmetic surgery or cosmetic treatments are harmful or cause harm in the long run. I feel that they are against God’s wish or that they cause cancer etc. These are the common myths that I encounter almost on a daily basis.
How do you deal with a popular myth prevalent today that products containing natural ingredients are better for skin?
I think patient education plays a very important role. I take out time during patient consultation to clear the misconceptions regarding use of various products.
Recently there have been many deaths due to liposuction however safe it may be?
It is wrong to say that many deaths have happened due to liposuction. Liposuction is the world’s leading cosmetic procedure. Of course it is important that it should be performed by a properly trained plastic surgeon. If complications happen in a miniscule number of patients, it has more to do with lax regulation of who can perform these surgeries rather than the procedure itself. I have done more than 4500 liposuctions and can definitely vouch for its safety.
What is the biggest difference between non-surgical weight reduction and surgical way of losing weight?
Non-surgical methods are quite temporary and can be used only for small areas such as double chin. They are still nowhere near the results of the surgical methods of weight loss.
Is it affordable for common man?
Yes, these treatments are becoming more affordable for the common man now. There are many modalities of payment eg; credit card companies which also provide the option of paying them in EMIs.
Who should undergo such treatments?
Any person, male or female, if bothered by their appearance and if there are safe procedures which can be offered to them, then they can undergo such treatments.
And what are the dos and don’ts of surgical beautification? What are the risks involved in such procedures?
There are no particular dos and don’ts of surgical beautification. It is important for patients to understand that these procedures are more or less permanent and hence they have to be sure in their mind about what features they want to change before opting for these.
How much desired change can be guaranteed by doctors? Any identity crises issues after facial alternations?
Almost all features of the face, body can now be cosmetically enhanced or altered. Sometimes patients themselves need to give some time to get used to their new look. I always tell my patients that your looks will definitely change after any procedure but this change will be for the better.
How do you look at these surgeries as craving for look more beautiful or need of circumstances?
This trend is also due to social media stories. Nowadays people are so aware of who is doing what to look good that they also want to do the same. I feel as a whole our entire society is becoming more consumerist and this is not only related to cosmetic procedures per se.
Have you ever faced awkward situations from patients?
Yes, sometimes (Laugh). Like sometimes I come across daughters telling me that they don’t want their parents to know about their surgery or wives telling that they don’t want their husbands to know about the surgery.
Tell us one memorable moment as doctor.
There are plenty of occasions when patients or their relatives touch my feet after seeing the result and they compare me with God. These are very memorable events for any doctor as no other profession gets this kind of response.
How important it is to educate a person seeking treatment about aesthetic procedures are not about becoming somebody else, but becoming the best version of you?
It is very important to counsel a patient seeking cosmetic procedures properly. If a person has unrealistic expectations, it is very important to explain the possible results and also to dissuade a person if the results desired cannot be attained.
What would you tell everybody about the difference between wanting to look beautiful and being obsessed with the idea of looking beautiful?
Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Though looking beautiful is important there are many other aspects of life such as confidence, dressing etc which create a lasting impact. So beyond a point one should not obsess over external beauty.
How would you look at the malpractices in this Aesthetics business?
There are many practitioners who don’t have any qualifications and still start an aesthetic clinic because of the lure to make money. Then there are others who perform procedures or surgeries beyond the scope of their work. I know of a dentist doing breast implants and another dentist performing hair transplant!
How do you look at mushrooming cosmetologists in Mumbai?
The lure of money and of course the demand is triggering this. While it is a welcome development unfortunately the regulations have not kept pace with the mushrooming of unregistered or unlicensed clinics.
How do you maintain ethics over aesthetics?
I do so by refusing to make money the primary aim. I tell so many patients that they don’t need a particular procedure that ultimately they respect my honest opinion.
What would be your one suggestion to health ministry pertaining to the practices in cosmetology and challenges?
Please enlarge the scope of the Medical Council to regulate unlicensed clinics. Make the practise without a valid license punishable under law so that people think twice before doing unethical things. Last year a “celebrity dermatologist” from Mumbai landed up behind bars in UAE as they found her degree to be fake. We need that kind of action here as well.
Your message to our readers?
Please educate yourself. Do check the credentials/ degrees of your doctor. If that person is not a qualified plastic surgeon or dermatologist, please think twice before trusting your face or body in his/her hands. Rest assured, with proper scientific treatments, you can definitely have a great result in your appearance!!