Cosmetic Surgery Scene in the Philippines

Cosmetic surgery is very affordable in the Philippines and there is an increasing number of Filipinos each year who decide to undergo various cosmetic surgery procedures.

The greater acceptance and growth of cosmetic surgery among the general public has encouraged more doctors to enter this field. In the Philippines however, any licensed medical doctor can perform any kind of cosmetic surgery without legal impediment. Any doctor can label himself or herself as a “cosmetic surgeon”.

Ideally, cosmetic surgeons should have formal training in plastic and reconstructive surgery. However, there are cosmetic surgeons who have no formal surgical training at all. Other cosmetic surgeons may have training in another surgical specialty (general surgery, ENT, OB-Gyne, or ophthalmology). Then there are cosmetic surgeons whose training is in a non-surgical specialty, such as dermatology, family practice or internal medicine.

Often portrayed as a “turf battle”, the issue of training and credentials in cosmetic surgery is actually an issue of public safety about which responsible doctors are necessarily concerned. With so many doctors laying claim to the title of “cosmetic surgeon”, it is no wonder that patients are confused. Many have a hard time distinguishing between plastic surgeons who have formal residency training in plastic and reconstructive surgery, and those who do not. Many have in fact become victims of unscrupulous practitioners who sweet-talk and peddle certain procedures with the promise of making the patient look better at a much lower cost than what is usually quoted by reputable plastic surgeons. To save on expenses, these procedures are even performed inside beauty parlors!

A common example is the injection of substances onto the nose in order to have the effect obtained by a surgical noselift. A number of patients have suffered complications from having silicone oil or paraffin wax injected onto their noses. Why do patients allow themselves to be injected? The main reason is the very low cost of nasal injections. The cost of nasal injections is from P7,000 to P10,000, ( around $ 125 to $178 ) as compared to a surgical noselift which will cost from P20,000 to P30,000 ($357 to $536).

Some doctors offer breast or penis augmentation by sucking fat from the abdomen, thighs or buttocks and injecting the fat onto the breast or penis. This kind of surgery is not effective at all and may lead to infection and the formation of pus or abscesses in the recipient areas. Other practitioners advertise the use of endermologie or other techniques to remove stretch marks in the abdomen when in actuality, no treatment has been proven to actually remove these stretch marks. Some doctors solicit the endorsement of television/movie stars and delude the public into equating such advertisements as proof of their surgical “expertise”. Various organizations are formed to “certify” cosmetic surgeons and some consumer awards for the best cosmetic surgeons are merely organized promotions by private companies which winners pay for.

Patients considering cosmetic surgery should know that choosing the right surgeon is the single most important decision they will make. Be sure to have all the facts you need in order to make an informed judgement. The training and experience of your cosmetic surgeon is the most important factor in the success of your surgery.

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