This piece is not to prescribe how people should spend the money they make; I am writing to help you make sure you’re being safe, if you want to go under the knife.
The first question you need to ask yourself is: “why am I doing this?” Getting plastic surgery is addictive; there are people who keep identifying defects and they need to continue getting touch ups. Before you get bitten by the plastic surgery bug, you really need to know why you are doing it. Are you doing this because you don’t feel good about yourself? Do you feel incomplete? Do you want this because it will make you happy? You have to make sure you feel good about yourself first and this must come from within. The kind of people you attract are a reflection of who you are as a person.
There is a certain type of energy you release to the universe that bounces back to you. At the end of the day, you are who you attract. So you have to be careful. If your mind is not right, you can become addicted to plastic surgery, and this can become a problem.
Plastic surgery, as a whole, is an umbrella term and it comprises of various branches. Let us focus on cosmetic surgery. For cosmetic surgery, you will need anaesthesia, i.e. you will need to be put to sleep. What anaesthesia does is that it knocks off your consciousness so you don’t remember what is going on. while the surgery is ongoing, your response to the anaesthesia will be monitored by a doctor – an anaesthesiologist.
As for the person (people) cutting into your body – whether transferring fat, adjusting a boob or pumping ass, etc. – they need to be licensed, have gone through adequate training and hold appropriate qualifications to do what they do.
There has been increasing reports of surgeries done by quacks that have gone south. If you decide to go under the knife, you have to do it right.
Make sure that your surgeon is licensed to practice. They must have completed a residency in plastic surgery or if it is a resident doctor – i.e., a plastic surgeon in training – there needs to be a supervising consultant. The anaesthesiologist needs to be licensed and has gone through residency training in anaesthesiology. If they are in training, they need a supervising consultant. If possible, ask them for the training colleges they are members of. Where they did their residency and subspecialty training – whether locally or abroad. You can contact these colleges with their names to verify if they are on the list.
The onus is on you to do the right homework because you want whoever is operating on you to have the right knowledge and skill.
Here are some red flags to show you that you might be dealing with a quack:
Have You Researched the Surgeon or Read Reviews of their Practices?
For someone in training or who is a consultant, they must have published some papers at one point in time that can be found online. At the very least, they would have attended conferences. If you cannot find them at all online, you need to think twice.
There are very few plastic surgeons in the country, especially in the cosmetic surgery subspecialty. They even have a WhatsApp page. If you ask around and the name doesn’t ring a bell, that could be a red flag. Find out where their training was done. Ask who their trainer was.
Go to the facility you are considering and ask the doctor for past clients. Also, ask the clients about their experiences. If you do your little digging, you will be surprised by what you might find and what you should avoid. This can be tricky because many people don’t really like discussing things like this.
Promotions & Deals
Cosmetic surgery is not cheap. Be wary of promos. For instance, 50% off for butt augmentation. It is not a supermarket. This is a red flag.
Link to an Intensive Care Unit
Even with the most gifted hands, complications come with any procedure. Depending on the procedure you want to undergo, you need to be in a center where there is an intensive care unit. Alternatively, they should have a well-equipped ambulance that can transport you to a center with an intensive care unit, if things go south.
Before any cosmetic procedure, there is an array of tests to know how fit you are for surgery. This includes a very important test called Coagulation Profile. Coagulation profile gives the doctor an idea of how likely you are to bleed excessively. If are you being prepped for surgery and the doctor is not mentioning any test to check your fitness for surgery, run!
Complications that may arise when you use a quack surgeon
Even with a skilled professional, complications can occur during cosmetic surgery. There have been so many cases where people have had nasty reactions in the hands of quacks. Even in jurisdictions where there is proper regulation and monitoring of health care professionals, people still fall prey to quacks.
Substandard products can have long term side effects such as abscess that may need drainage, chronic ulcers, even cancer.
You can literally die from this, no jokes! There can be complications from the anaesthesia due to lack of monitoring or lack of competent anaesthesiologist. You could have brain damage from the surgery if your brain does not receive adequate oxygen when you are put to sleep. In fact, one can become a ‘vegetable’ as a result.
In conclusion, before you embark on cosmetic surgery, make sure your mind is right about it. Ensure you are not doing it from a place of low self-esteem, trying to please somebody or with the hope that people will like you better if you go under the knife.
Make sure you are being responsible about it and you are doing adequate research to make sure whoever you are going to meet has the right qualification and skill.
Having a good lifestyle, i.e., eating right and doing regular exercises will have an overall positive impact on your health. Sucking out that fat to get a slim waist with no exercise doesn’t do anything for your body, if you don’t eat right and actually do physical activity.
Shout out to my colleague, Dr. Oyesanya Olatunde Jamal, a plastic surgery resident at my center for his contribution to this article.