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

 

Gaza civilian toll spiralling to above 800

Hezbollah chief speaks out on Gaza

Sadly no survivors on Air Algerie flight crash

Two rival Islamic states in Syria power struggle

Ordeal of ‘apostasy’ woman ends with departure from Sudan

Crete protest against Syria chemicals destruction in Mediterranean

74 killed in IS assault on Syria regime territory

Iran confirms arrest of Washington Post correspondent

Somali 'Shebab commanders' killed in AU offensive

Paris: survivors of Air Algerie jet crash 'unlikely'

Jordan shots down drone near Syria border

UN urges Europe to tackle Mediterranean migrant crisis

From Israel with ‘virus’: Death threat letter reaches Palestinian mission in France

Another bloody day as Israel targets civilians in UN-run school

‘Islamic State’ launches multiple attacks on Syria army

Attack on Egypt army post bears fingerprints of foreign intelligence

Harassment of Christians escalates in Islamist-run Sudan

Air Algerie plane goes missing over Mali

Algeria plane with many French nationals on board vanishes over Mali

Iraqi protesters denounce treatment of minority Christians

Iraq elects Kurdish politician as federal president

Russia begins supplying military equipment to Iraq

Air Algerie plane contact lost over west Africa

South Sudan warring sides to resume peace talks

Baghdad closer to breaking political limbo

Spectacular attack on Iraq prisoner convoy

Gaza death toll passes 700 mark

Mladenov pleads for UN help to end IS 'atrocities' in Iraq

Hamas hails suspension of Israel flights as 'great victory'

Lebanon army records first case of desertion to join Syria Nusra Front

Iraq gunmen kill female former candidate for parliament

Kerry cites ‘some steps forward’ in Gaza truce efforts

Turkey hunts for nine intelligence officers in wire-tapping probe

Suspension of hostilities in Gaza to allow medical assistance

Assassination of famed Somali musician and lawmaker

Sisi defends Egypt in trying to broker Gaza truce

Syria welcomes nomination of Staffan de Mistura as new UN envoy

Iraq lawmakers stall presidential election as violence yields grim crop of bodies

Yemen president calls for unity

Etihad helps Jet Airways return to profit

Is Tunisia returning to old regime censorship?

Qatar emir in unannounced visit to Saudi

HRW: Iraq air strikes wreaking awful toll on civilians

Kuwait revokes pro-opposition TV, newspaper licences

Twin suicide bombing shakes Libya's Benghazi