Ethnic identity under the knife

Medical professionals including Dr Foued Hamza (below) are concerned about the aggressive advertising targeting Asians
Medical professionals including Dr Foued Hamza (below) are concerned about the aggressive advertising targeting Asians

surgeons call for supervision of clinics offering to make clients look ‘western’


A LEADING surgeon has hit out at “aggressive” advertisements targeted at ethnic minorities for controversial procedures like skin lightening.

Dr Foued Hamza said watchdogs need to monitor marketing for ‘ethnicity surgery’, where doctors in the UK attempt to make patients look more Western.

Dozens of British clinics are offering to re- shape a patient’s nose, make their face more oval shaped and give them full-body skin whitening.

Dr Hamza, who has worked in London and Paris for over 20 years, said he hopes the ads will be regulated better.

He told Eastern Eye: “It is a problem of regula- tion of advertising. A patient may not be ready for surgery but is driven by advertising.

“The main thing is for the patient to have sat- isfaction and to understand all the risks.

“Pushing for patients for this type of ‘ethnicity surgery’ is not good. With aggressive advertising, they [patients] see a picture of how it looks and forget the risks.

“Hospitals and doctors need to advertise with- out the aggressiveness or offering two-for-one deals. It’s an ethical problem – if the patient doesn’t like their body we need to find out why.”

Centres including the London Cosmetic Clinic use dermal fillers to build up small noses for around £550

On the website of the Aestha clinic in London, patients are told that beauty means being “per- fectly pale” and with a “flawless face oval”.

Some centres also offer full body whitening treatments injected through the muscles, while the Centre for Advanced Facial Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery in London has ‘ethnic rhinoplasty’ for changing the shape of a person’s nose.

Clinics that offer minor treatments like botox and fillers do not need to be registered with the health regulator, the Care Quality Commission.

Dr Hamza said many south Asian patients he has treated opt for rhinoplasty.

He added: “We like to see a patient two or three times so they understand the procedure.

“When it comes to changing a person’s face, it may not be worthy for the patient.

“My advice would be go to one or two sur- geons for an assessment, then choose the one you’re most confident with.“In France, cosmetic surgery advertising is for- bidden. It’s an extreme rule but when patients come to see us it’s through word of mouth.

“They are more confident to go ahead and there is less pressure from the media to look a certain way.”

More than 51,000 Britons opted to have cos- metic surgery in 2015 and there was a 12 per cent rise in procedures.

Women accounted for 91 per cent of patients but the number of men going under the knife has rocketed from 2,440 in 2005 to 4,614 in 2015.

Ash Mosahebi, from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said: “All cosmetic procedures are done to improve a feature that the person doesn’t like.

“However, if that leans towards changing some- one’s ethnicity, that is blurring the boundaries a bit. If an Asian patient comes to me, I will advise them to improve things but to still keep their eth- nicity intact.”A MIXED group of Asian and .