First Published: 2012-12-28

 

Mosul men go under knife for good looks

 

Young Iraqis want more attractive noses as plastic surgery is booming in one of Iraq’s most dangerous cities.

 

Middle East Online

By Saleh Elias – MOSUL, Iraq

Floorishing business

Business is booming, say cosmetic surgeons in one of Iraq’s most dangerous cities. It’s not just Botox for ladies either. Apparently the biggest increase is in young men who want more attractive noses.

The Mosul clinic run by Dr Sadallah al-Zako is full almost all day, every day. For five working days of the week it’s crowded with people from all age and social groups. What they have in common: they want to look nicer.

Al-Zako is a member of the British Association of Plastic Surgeons and he was the first to introduce cosmetic surgery to the city of Mosul in 1987. And now, as he told NIQASH, cosmetic surgery is on the increase. “Up by 70 percent in 2012 compared to 2009,” al-Zako boasts. “Currently I’m performing around 60 surgeries a month here.”

In the recent Iraqi past, most of the patients who came for cosmetic surgery were victims of violence or accidents, as well as children with congenital disfigurations. But over the past few years a new kind of customer has entered the market: men and women preoccupied with good looks.

“The relatively stable security conditions in the Nineveh province over the past two years and, perhaps more importantly, the increase in income levels for a large sector of local society, particularly among government employees, are two of the main reasons behind this increase,” local sociologist Bashar al-Mimari explains. “When people feel secure about their incomes, they start thinking of luxury items.”

Al-Mimari believes it’s also about more than this. Iraq has become more connected to the rest of the world through access to the Internet and satellite television. “So Iraqis are aware of scientific developments in various fields, including medicine,” he says.

In fact, al-Zako adds, a lot of the women coming to his surgery are doing so because their husbands are seeing beautiful women on television and they want their wives to change accordingly. Most of the women come for laser treatment or Botox injections.

Al-Zako says there are two other areas where his business is booming. More local children who have issues with, for example, cleft palate come for surgery. He believes this is mainly because people have realized how important it is to resolve these problems at an early age.

But an unexpected area of trade also involves male customers. It turns out that most of the Mosul locals undergoing plastic surgery are men aged between 18 and 30 years. And al-Zako says most of them are unhappy about their noses.

Still, there still seems to be plenty of stigma attached to the idea of cosmetic surgery in Mosul, a relatively conservative town.

One patient that NIQASH spoke with had had his ears pinned back. The young man was very happy with the results of his surgery but he asked that he not be named in case his friends and family found out about his visit to al-Zako’s clinic.

“Today I feel so much happier,” the young man said. “I can go to the barber shop and get a more youthful haircut. Before the surgery I felt like I had to hide my deformed ears. Now I don’t.”

But even social attitudes will eventually change here. The medical staff working in the area expects that the demand for aesthetic or cosmetic surgery will continue to grow in Mosul. Currently there are only about ten specialists in the field in a city of over 3 million; if the local hospital does cosmetic work it’s usually on burns victims.

And doctors like al-Zako working in cosmetic surgery believe that, just as in the West, more medical students will be choosing to move into this field in the near future. In fact it’s already started to happen: six young doctors are expected to graduate in cosmetic surgery from the Mosul College of Medicine shortly.

Niqash

 

Yemen warring parties 'closer' to agreement

Major assaults target IS jihadists in Iraq, Syria

Netanyahu forms ultra-nationalist Israel government

New Afghan Taliban leader named

Female Emirati pilot issues rallying cry to young women

Sudan accuses UN official of 'false' reports on displaced

Egypt quashes prison sentences for 47 protesters

At least 5 drown off Libya coast

Coalition airstrike kills six Yemen civilians 'by mistake'

Erdogan chairs first meeting of new Turkey cabinet

Pope prays to 'convert hearts' of ISIS extremists

Egypt expels French journalist amid crackdown on media

Israeli rights group gives up on army complaints system

Hamas-led council backs executions without Abbas approval

Syrian base used by Russia damaged in IS attack

Kurdish, Arab forces announce anti-IS offensive north of Syria's Raqa

Palestinian PM dismisses Netanyahu proposal

Israel PM's travel expenses under scrutiny

EgyptAir victims' relatives give samples for DNA tests

Iran sends new delegation to Saudi for hajj talks

Hardline cleric elected head of Iran's Assembly of Experts

Civilians trapped as Fallujah siege tightens

Iraq's Fallujah offensive draws attention from embattled PM

Turkey incoming PM unveils cabinet

US, Russia scramble to save Syria truce

Libyan coastguards intercept 550 bound for Europe

Campus bomb kills two in Yemen's Sanaa

Saudi soldier killed in landmine blast on Yemen border

Over 148 killed in IS bombings in Syria regime heartland

Iraq forces battle IS jihadists to retake Fallujah

Erdogan advisor says Turkey could suspend EU deals

Iraq launches military operation to retake Fallujah

Oil prices dip as Iran says no to output freeze

Skepticism ahead of Istanbul humanitarian summit

Sudan steps up pressure for exit of Darfur peacekeepers

UN Palestinian agency says half its schools hit by conflict

Bombs kill more than 120 in Syria regime strongholds

Netanyahu rejects French peace initiative

Gunmen kill 8 worshipers in Darfur

India in deal to turn Iran port into trade hub

Turkey's incoming PM working on new cabinet

Israel lifts ban on Gaza cement deliveries

Yemen warring parties meet after long pause

Egypt enlists submersible to search for EgyptAir crash clues

Tunisia's Ennahda reelects Ghannouchi as party chief