Revealed: Dubai’s top cosmetic procedures

The emirate’s booming cosmetic surgery industry is set to keep growing

Paul Crompton

Published: Updated:

Liposuction, boob jobs, rhinoplasty, body lifts, fillers and botox top the list of Dubai’s most popular cosmetic procedures, industry professionals told Al Arabiya News.

The emirate’s booming cosmetic surgery industry, where a plethora of clinics give prospective patients the option for almost any number of potentially life-changing enhancements, is set to keep growing, with authorities planning to attract half a million medical tourists in six years.

Silvian Stanciu, plastic surgery specialist at Dubai’s Wellbeing Medical Centre said that the next most common treatments after the “big four” were acid fillers for face and lips, botox treatments, mesotherapy for skin revitalization, laser hair removal, laser skin lifting, and stretch marks removal – in that order.

Stanciu, who has noticed a “visible increase” this year of at least 8 percent in tourist patients that come to his center, downplayed suggestions that Dubai was attracted tourists from far overseas, said that “only few come from Europe or [the] United States.”

‘The place to go’

“Dubai has become ‘the place to go’ for aesthetic enhancement and a nice holiday,” Vasilica Baltateanu, managing director of the cosmetic surgery consultancy Vasilica Aesthetics, citing regional unrest as additional draw.

“Even though before people from [Gulf region] were preferring to go to Lebanon, now, not anymore,” she said.

Despite Dubai’s skewed gender demographics - a report last year stated there were more than 3 males for every female resident in the emirate - all professionals interviewed stated that women undertook the vast majority of procedures.

“Men are also increasingly opting for plastic surgery,” said Mohan Rangaswamy, a consultant plastic surgeon working at Cocoona Day Surgery Center in Dubai - which claims to have performed around 4,500 surgeries since its establishment.

“We saw an increase of 30 percent in men asking for liposuction procedures as compare to last 2 to 3 years,” said Stanciu.

Many men tend to opt for different surgeries than women, Rangaswamy told Al Arabiya News. “Hair transplant, male breast reductions, liposuctions and nose corrections are very common,” he said.

On the fast track

The male desire to fast-track the removal of upper-body flab is one of the “most sought after” surgical procedures, said Allen Rezai, consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Dubai’s Elite Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery Group.

A most recent trend, according to Rezai, is the demand for non-invasive cosmetic procedures that slow down the signs of ageing, which have “increased dramatically” in recent years.

Despite a lack of recent demographic data, old media reports suggest that Emiratis only constitute about 11 percent of the entire UAE's population. Yet according to several surgeons interviewed by Al Arabiya News, the majority of clients were Emirati.

“Dubai residents and Gulf residents are the most,” said Roberto Viel from Dubai’s London Clinic of Aesthetic Surgery.

“The majority of our clients are actually residents, almost 50 percent are Emiratis,” said Rangaswamy.

Changing trends

However, according to Rezai, trends in cosmetic surgery ebb and flow. “Currently about 60 percent of our patients are Dubai residents however the numbers are increasingly changing,” he said.

While in the past, horror stories hit local newspapers about unlicensed surgeons – one of whom reportedly performed cut-price procedures on his kitchen table, leaving his unfortunate clients disfigured - the industry has long since moved on, according to Rangaswamy.

“Plastic surgery in Dubai is mature and is really of quite high standard now,” he said. “Strict licensing rules ensure that only properly qualified doctors are allowed to work in Dubai.”