Cosmetic surgery is gaining popularity in Iraq, driven by the availability of satellite television. Now, surgeons previously preoccupied with treating war wounds are helping patients look like their favorite celebrities.
The relatively new phenomenon of satellite TV in Iraq has had an interesting side effect – namely an increase in the number of people who want cosmetic plastic surgery.
Surgeons are reporting that since satellite stations arrived in 2003, more and more patients are making requests to resemble celebrities from Lebanon and Egypt.
They are mainly asking for liposuction, Botox injections or nose jobs – but both Iraqi men and women are making these requests, and are willing to put money on the table. Patients routinely pay up to $1000 for a nose job. Breast surgery is also becoming more common, although the procedures are more often made to reduce breast size, not increase it.
Another interesting side effect, some Iraqi surgeons have admitted, is how war has improved their surgical practices. Until recently, doctors were preoccupied with performing surgery to help local victims of terrorist violence, such as bomb blasts. Often, they worked under intense pressure, and the surgeries demanded a high level of skill to repair amputated limbs and torn skin.
Today, as several regions have become more stable, some plastic surgeons in Iraq are being consulted for cosmetic surgery from roughly half the patients they see.
A few years ago, less than a quarter of their patients had cosmetic demands. Compared to what these surgeons had been used to, this trend comes as a relief.