“Plastic surgery is not just for Christmas – it’s for life.”
That’s the warning from top Scots plastic surgeon Taimur Shoaib, as he and his fellow surgeons embark on their busiest time of the year.
Right now is boom-time for beauty salons and rejuvenation clinics as people prepare for parties. But Mr Shoaib, who appears on TV shows such as Bodyshockers and How Not To Get Old, has urged people not to be too hasty if they want to look their best.
Mr Shoaib, who consults in Aberdeen’s Temple Medical, said: “Plastic surgery is a big step and I would always urge people to be cautious before embarking on something that will have long-term effects.
“I am always wary of rushing into surgical procedures, which is why there is always a few weeks between the consultation and the operation so people can think long and hard about the decision.”
Instead, he suggests plenty of non-surgical options to leave your face and body looking refreshed and rejuvenated for the festive period. He also warns against procedures that can leave you bruised, red or swollen for a week or so, the last thing you need if you are off to a Hogmanay party.
Mr Shoaib, who owns La Belle Forme with clinics in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Harley Street, said: “I suggest gentler treatments like fillers, ultrasound, Botox and gentle lasers, rather than something that is going to leave you looking like you have just gone ten rounds in a boxing match.
“Non-surgical treatments for the face and body have gone through so many technological advances that in expert hands some are almost the equivalent of a surgical facelift.
“There is also no need for bruising and swelling if you choose wisely. The ClearLift laser works under the surface of the skin, so there is no downtime at all, while an Indiba facelift or the stronger Ulthera facelift use ultrasound to lift and tighten with no healing required.”
Ultrasound machines can also lift the body and eliminate cellulite, although many require several sessions to see the full results.
Facial fillers are great at plumping out fine lines and defining a saggy jaw. They can also be used to plump up the lips or the cheeks. A filler facelift can last over a year and can take years off the face in just half an hour.
Mr Shoaib suggests “baby Botox” for those wishing just a little smoothing of the crow’s feet and brow, rather than the frozen look which can be unflattering.
And it’s not just women who are looking for a bit of help. One in 10 procedures are now carried out on men who are now just as savvy as women when it comes to turning back the clock.
And what about men who buy their wives or girlfriends vouchers for surgical or non-surgical procedures as a Christmas gift?
“That does happen,” laughed Mr Shoaib. “Usually their wives have been talking about it for some time, and so are delighted to receive the gift of plastic surgery or rejuvenation. However, there are sometimes one or two who decide it is not for them, and hopefully their partner has gone to a reputable clinic where they have not paid for the procedure in the first place without a consultation with a surgeon.”
But surgery really comes into its own at New Year when people are looking to make big changes in their lives.
According to Mr Shoaib, this is when most people think about consulting a plastic surgeon.
He said: “New Year is the time when people think about surgical options, the most popular of which is breast enlargement followed by facelifts, liposuction, tummy tucks and nose jobs.
“It is a time for reflection, and that is why many people decide to embark on a plan of action to improve areas they are not too happy with – whether this is about giving up smoking, going on a diet or having a facelift.”
“Most surgical procedures require overnight stays in hospital and one or two weeks off work depending on the procedure, so January and February seems to be a good time for this.”
Many patients are shocked to discover that many procedures can be done under twilight sedation, and will take just half an hour or so to complete before they can go home.
“Upper eyelid surgery and eyebag removal are examples of this, as are brow lifts, lower surgical facelifts and liposuction.”
But Mr Shoaib warns that whatever option you choose, be sure that you go to a reputable clinic or surgeon, saying: “The last thing you want when your greet your friends and relatives is a dreaded trout pout or the pillow face where someone has injected too much filler in your face. Fillers and Botox can only be prescribed by a doctor or dentist, and injected by a fully qualified nurse.
“When it comes to choosing a plastic surgeon, make sure they are on the specialist register of the GMC in plastic surgery and get on the forums to talk to some of their patients to find out if they happy with their results. If they have too many negative comments then I suggest you go elsewhere.”
Taimur Shoaib consults regularly at Temple Medical at West Craibstone Street, Aberdeen, phone 01224 869997. See also www.labelleforme.co.uk, 0141 552 0828.