Media 05 May 2015
What we have learned and what we can implement concerning high quality plastic surgery and medical tourism in the UAE – Gergely Pataki M.D.
The first ISAPS course to be held in the United Arab Emirates, “Come See the Future”, was held on January 24-25 in Dubai. The venue was the Emirates Towers hotel. The faculty came from Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, Greece, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the UAE, USA and the UK. The audience represented 170 plastic surgeons from 31 different countries. The organization was managed by a Company in Istanbul who was perfect in their timing and communication. Luiz Toledo M.D. an active Brazilian plastic surgeon- recently living in Dubai- served as Course Director. The scientific program covered most of the aesthetic surgery topics (breast, face, aesthetic, reconstruction, tissue regeneration) and the idea was that the attendees could “see the future” not only scientifically, but also the future of the world by looking at Dubai. The social program included a faculty cocktail at Medical Arts Clinic, faculty dinner at the Pierchic Restaurant of the Al Qsar Hotel and another at a Lebanese restaurant. Desert Safari and Dune Bashing with an oasis barbecue and belly dancing was attended by many of the visitors.
Three members of the ISAPS Board attended, Dr. Nazim Cerkes, Gianluca Campiglio and Lina Triana. Three of the five members of the Board of the EPSS—Emirates Plastic Surgery Society —attended the course including the vice president, Dr. Venkat Ratnam, and the secretary, Dr. Jamal Jomah.
Unfortunately my friend, Ali Al –Numairy the former and founder president of the EPSS could not be present as he deceased last year. We were also honoured by the presence of Dr. João Prado Neto, the current president of the Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery.
It was interesting to get an in view into plastic surgery organization in the UAE. The UAE has one of the highest concentrations of plastic surgeons in the world, far outstripping countries such as the United States and Brazil. This makes it more important, amid the growing demand for cosmetic surgery, for patients to be diligent and seek out licensed professionals, health experts warn. “It is absolutely essential that patients check the credentials of doctors before undergoing any kind of surgery, aesthetic or otherwise,” said Dr Marzouqi, from the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) at the congress. While the US has one plastic surgeon for every 50,000 people and Brazil one for every 44,000, the UAE has one for every 18,000. In comparison Hungary has one plastic surgeon for every 50,000 people too. (Population 10 Million, served by ca. 200 plastic surgeons). The Emirates Plastic Surgery Society has 150 members – 103 of them in Dubai – including visiting surgeons, which is up from 60 about eight years ago. With so many recognized aesthetic surgeons in Dubai, Dr Al Marzouqi said, it was important for patients to see a specialist who is licensed by the DHA, whether it is for something as minor as a Botox procedure or for a major operation. “Patients must avoid getting plastic surgeries done at non-licensed venue for the sake of cheaper prices” This was a very important message of the congress. Also the use of high quality materials (implants, fillers).
For example, private residences are not the right venue for operations and small clinics are not the right place for major plastic surgeries.
It is a known fact that Dubai has some of the best plastic surgeons in the world practicing there (temporarily) and therefore medical tourists do visit the emirate for plastic surgery as well. We in Hungary could benefit a lot from the ideas of the UAE in the field of medical tourism.
There are strict observations from the authorities. It is interesting to hear at the congress, that the DHA received 24 complaints that it classified under plastic surgery last year. There were 11 cosmetic surgery complaints, eight for hair removal and five for dental veneers. In 2008, the health authority received 17 complaints about clinics, and announced that it was monitoring more than 1,000 clinics that had recently opened in the emirate, some of which have been closed. Illegal procedures may involve techniques or materials such as fillers that are not approved for use in the UAE.
Patients, mostly from Arabian Gulf nations but also from India, Pakistan, Russia and Eastern European countries, come to Dubai for high-quality operations but the city cannot compete with other destinations such as Thailand in terms of cost.
The top five procedures are liposuction or lipoplasty, rhinoplasty, breast augmentation or lift, face lift and stomach tuck.
The concentration of plastic surgeons in the UAE was one reason Dubai was chosen to host last month’s conference of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, an organization founded in the US in 1970.
About 170 surgeons attended the event on January 24 and 25 in Dubai and we were impressed with the professional standards there. The level of quality there is as good as anywhere else in the world. The plastic surgery society hopes to attract more surgeons to the city and to encourage visiting doctors to stay, especially because visiting plastic surgeons, who are not permanently based here sometimes complicate follow-up procedures for patients. They want to stimulate surgeons to really put their roots in Dubai. The Dubai DHA’s regulation of the industry and licensing requirements were reasons for Dubai’s plastic surgery reputation. Tight quality assurance measures like random and planned inspection of healthcare facilities in Dubai, and auditing performance of healthcare professionals, are some of the measures that are undertaken by the regulatory department.
Patients should come to Hungary not because it’s cheap, but because it’s good. We offer a high standard of plastic surgery with university background. Some facts we might could point out better for patients:
These are some ideas that Hungary could learn in order to improve our standards in Plastic Surgery Medical Tourism. We have the right facilities with the right and well trained doctors; we are just not able to sell ourselves as good as for example in the UAE.
Gergely Pataki M.D.
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