Cosmetic surgery rising among Saudi women

Cosmetic surgery rising among Saudi women
Updated 26 March 2013

Cosmetic surgery rising among Saudi women

Cosmetic surgery rising among Saudi women

There has been a noticeable rise in the demand for cosmetic surgery in the Kingdom as Saudi women succumb to the bombarding conceptions of beauty and perfection propagated by mass media.
According to a study conducted by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS), Saudi Arabia ranks 22nd among the top 25 countries with the highest rates of cosmetic procedures in the world.
The study revealed that Turkey and Saudi Arabia are the only Muslim countries with a total number of 104,767 and 46,962 surgical procedures performed in 2011 respectively.
“It is important for some women to undergo surgery to enhance their beauty and feel more confident,” says Dr. Nizar Fageeh, a Saudi facial plastic consultant, “but I would advise them to consult the right surgeon.”
Dr. Fageeh says that cosmetic surgery has become a trend in Saudi Arabia nowadays because it has become socially acceptable to go under the knife for aesthetic reasons and that people have assigned greater importance to the notions of beauty.
“The most common surgery requested is nose reshaping. I have had patients come to me from ages as young as 16 up to 40.”
Dr. Fageeh mentions that even though he has performed surgeries for female patients of several nationalities such as Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and other Asian countries, the majority of his patients are Saudi. The cosmetic surgeon furthermore revealed that the high prices of certain surgeries are not an issue for most of his clients.
Despite the oblivion of some women to the religious issues regarding cosmetic surgeries, there has been much deliberation over this topic in religious circles. Sheikh Mohammed Al-Nujaimi, a member of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in Saudi Arabia, stated that it is permissible to perform surgery to correct a birth defect or to reverse damages incurred from an accident in a report to the Associated Press following discussions amongst clergymen regarding whether cosmetic surgeries violate the Islamic ‘fatwa’ against altering God’s creation,.
Otherwise, it is considered sinful to undergo a cosmetic procedure to alter one’s self in order to beautify or enhance certain features for vanity purposes.
“It depends on the notion of acceptance in society today,” says Dr. Fageeh. “Once upon a time, cosmetic surgery was considered taboo in Saudi Arabia. People were worried about the health risks and religious reprobation against cosmetic surgeries. However, in today’s world, with the introduction of new technology and methods to make everything much easier, people have become less worried about safety and have become more concerned about living in the present.”
Moreover, many patients who underwent cosmetic surgery have the confidence to try it again.
“Once you have tried cosmetic surgery, it makes you want to do it more,” says Hala Olaya, a Saudi patient who has undergone several surgeries. “I started with a nose reshaping surgery some years back and because I was happy with it, I underwent laser hair removal and then I ventured for a tummy tuck.”
Olaya argues that even though women are veiled in Saudi Arabia, they are keener on maintaining their good looks for female-only parties and social gatherings.