Revealed: Top 10 most popular cosmetic surgeries in UAE

Enquiries for breast implants and breast lifts up 87% and 125%, respectively

Cosmetic surgery has seen a surge in growth this year across the UAE, with enquiries for elective cosmetic procedures increasing by 106 per cent, according to private healthcare search engine WhatClinic.com.

The surge in interest noted can be attributed to interest from patients both at home and abroad. With its range of private hospitals and a growing reputation for quality, the UAE is a top destination for elective healthcare globally. Medical tourism makes up a significant portion of the market, and overseas enquiries rose by 135 per cent over the past 12 months.

The treatment costs an average of Dh20,981, and is not only the most popular treatment of the past year, it shows no sign of slowing down, with a 154 per cent increase in patient enquiries to clinics in the region for the same period. Rhinoplasty was the second most popular treatment, and it too is increasing in popularity, up 104 per cent. The average price tag of this surgery was revealed to be Dh23,885.

Third on the list is a relatively new procedure called gynecomastia, or male breast reduction. This procedure costs Dh21,296 on average and is becoming more popular over time. Other breast related surgeries also made the list. Breast implants (the 4th most popular treatment) and breast lift (9th most popular) both showed increased interest from patients.

The first is used to increase the size of the breast, while the latter is more common among slightly older patients, who are hoping to restore a more youthful outline. Breast lift increased by 125 per cent despite having an average price tag of Dh34,678. Implants grew by 87 per cent and had an average price of Dh26,515.

5th on the list were tummy tucks - a bariatric treatment to remove excess flesh on the abdomen - a common surgery for those who have lost a significant amount of weight. The average price for this surgical procedure is Dh33,889 and has increased by 153 per cent this year.

Fat transfer also known as fat grafting or fat injection, is one of the newer treatments generating interest among cosmetic surgery patients. Enquiries are up 169 per cent, and the treatment has an average cost of Dh21,850.
Fat transfer is really a two-part treatment, that begins with liposuction to harvest donor fat from one area of the patient’s body, to be ‘replanted’ in other areas, such as the face, hands, breasts or buttocks. The patient’s own fat is considered more natural than fillers. Skill is needed to ensure the fat transferred grows in the new area, and a small proportion of the transferred fat can be reabsorbed into the body, so several treatments may be needed to create the desired effect.

Another treatment that has become recently popular is laser vaginal rejuvenation. Enquiries rose 215 per cent over the past year, with the procedure costing Dh21,167 on average.

Demand for eyelid surgery – the procedure to correct droopy eyelids by removing excess skin, muscle or fat – has seen a considerable surge in interest over the past year as enquiries are up by 245 per cent. This procedure costs an average of Dh15,895.

Rounding off the top ten, buttock implants have also risen in popularity with a 97 per cent increase in enquiries in the past year with an average price of Dh39,500.

Although not featured on this year’s list, facelifts have been rising in popularity over the past 12 months and are likely to make the top ten in 2016. Enquiries have risen by 346 per cent since 2014, and patients can expect to pay Dh30,833, on average.

A quarter (25 per cent) of all cosmetic surgery enquiries were from overseas patients. Over the past twelve months, enquiries from Saudi Arabia have increased by 308 per cent, Oman enquiries are up 188 per cent and enquiries from Qatar have increased by 51 per cent. Further away, enquiries from UK patients have seen a 295 per cent rise in the past year.

“Over the past two years we have seen a significant increase in cosmetic surgery patients at AACSH. Patients are coming to Dubai from all over the Emirates, but also from other countries such as those in the GCC. The main reason is we have a number of international experts here, including surgeons who are American board certified, so people don’t need to go to the US. It’s easier and cheaper for patients to come to Dubai and they have access to the same level of care and expertise here, said Wima Akl, Surgical Services Coordinator at American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital, Dubai.

“Another reason for this boom is the increased access to choice and information online. Generally speaking, Internet and social media have played a huge role in the rise of this industry, and people are more comfortable talking about cosmetic surgery now. Newest technologies and techniques are also making the procedures safer, with less risks and shorter recovery times.”

Emily Ross, Director of WhatClinic.com, said: “Our data shows that cosmetic surgery is most definitely a growing market. The UAE has positioned itself as a centre of excellence for private healthcare and this investment has clearly paid off. A quarter of all enquiries are from overseas patients and this figure continues to grow, showing that the UAE is becoming a top global destination for elective procedures, and a very real alternative to US travel for patients in a number of key markets.

“We encourage all patients to do their research before they travel for any kind of procedure. Speak to a number of specialists until you find one that you are comfortable with. If you do decide to go overseas, be realistic about recovery time and getting home, and make sure you are informed about possible risks and insurance requirements.”

This data is based on actual patient enquiries made by email to UAE private clinics during 2014-15 as compared to the previous years.

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