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

 

Turkey reinforces ground forces across border into Syria

Iraq parliament votes to impeach defense minister

Tunisia unity government to remain unchanged

Kerry announces new Yemen peace initiative

Raped teen who took own life finally gets justice in Morocco

Kerry in Saudi for talks on regional conflicts

UN Syria envoy expects 'impact' from Kerry-Lavrov meeting

Russia says will cooperate in Syria chemical attacks probe

Iraq forces take key town south of Mosul

Hamas to leave name off ballot in Palestinian elections

Iranian navy in 'unsafe' intercept of US destroyer

Three wounded in PKK attack on Turkey opposition chief's convoy

Erdogan to inaugurate Istanbul's third Bosphorus bridge

China to train Syrian troops

Turkey says 'every right' to intervene if Kurds fail to withdraw

UN rights chief urges international probe of Yemen violations

Syria rebels backed by Turkey tanks 'seize' Jarabulus

Libya's presidential council to present new cabinet

Syria regime, Kurds blast Turkish incursion

Biden: Washington told Kurds not to cross Euphrates

Israeli court shuns plea to unchain Palestinian hunger striker

Saudi police foil mosque suicide bombing

Kerry to meet Russia's Lavrov in Geneva on Friday

Kurdish forces in Syria prime target for Turkey

Drone strike kills 2 Qaeda suspects in Yemen

Iran yet to decide on OPEC limits

Iraq forces advance south of Mosul

Muslim women say swimsuit uproar is 'absurd'

Gaza animals leave 'world's worst' zoo

Hasakeh: key flashpoint for Syria regime, Kurds

Kerry heads to Saudi on Yemen peace push

British woman killed in Australian stabbing

Hajj stoning to be shortened after deadly stampede

Turkey launches operation to clear Syria border town from IS

Israel raids West Bank arms factories

Morocco posts fall in foreign tourist arrivals

Turkey cuts interest rates defying inflation jump

Syria regime, Kurds agree Hasakeh truce

Iran says it requested Russian strikes on Aleppo

Turkey shells IS positions in Syria

UN braces for massive flight from Mosul

Sudanese migrant killed in Calais clashes

Palestinian suspect in police killings beaten to death

Iraq forces launch push to retake town south of Mosul

UN aid chief warns of 'unparalleled' catastrophe in Aleppo