In conversation with Dr. OBT
IN YOUR OPINION, WHY DO PEOPLE NEED PLASTIC SURGERY?
Plastic surgery is actually divided into many parts. People have a misconception and think that cosmetic surgery is the same thing. This field became a surgical sub-specialty after the World Wars, when soldiers needed reconstruction following trauma and burns, but the origins date back to techniques used for nose reconstruction in India in 800BC! During my training years I worked with hundreds of patients on cleft surgeries, burns and limb reconstructions (including a hand re-plantationâ€”the first ever successful one in the history of Mayo Hospital). We also perform breast cancer and skin cancer reconstructions. Therefore, itÂ is a diverse field and aesthetic surgery is one division. I must add that I dislike the word â€˜cosmeticâ€™ surgery and prefer â€˜aestheticâ€™, as most quacks use this word to lure patients. Aesthetic surgery should only be performed by board-certified plastic surgeons, who have an interest and experience in this division of their field. Coming back to the question: Plastic surgery is needed by those who require reconstruction, repair, correction of birth defects, burns, hand surgery, cancer surgery and for aesthetic reasons ie. to look and feel better.
ARE SOME PEOPLE BETTER CANDIDATES FOR PLASTIC SURGERY VERSUS OTHERS?
Itâ€™s important to screen patients, as some can have body dysmorphia, in which they have an exaggerated sense of their condition. A plastic surgeon must be able to guide and advise the patient well and perform surgery only on stable and healthy patients.
DO YOU THINK THAT PATIENTS EXPECT TO GET â€œFIXEDâ€ AFTER SURGERY? IS IT ONLY A PHYSICAL ISSUE OR ALSO A PSYCHOLOGICAL ONE?
I donâ€™t â€˜thinkâ€™ that, I know it. After having treated thousands of patients for skin conditions or trauma, I have seen only positive changes in them after surgery. It is true that this is a surgery of the soul; many patients cry in happiness after a successful treatment and their positive attitude spreads into their personal and public lives. Of course, a severely depressed individual should not be operated upon. However, once stable, it can really help in boosting self-esteem and self-confidence. Some patients have also told me that they felt itÂ gave them a second chance at life.
WHEN YOUâ€™RE OUT AND ABOUT TOWN, DO YOU TEND TO EVALUATE PEOPLE YOU MEET?
I donâ€™t, as that would be cruel; we all have flaws and nobody is perfect. I do have my â€˜radarâ€™ on always though and I do feel I can help someone look the best version of themselves. I dislike pointing out issues and would rather that whomsoever would like to be treated by me, should state exactly what they would want to improve about themselves. After hearing everything, I advise in a professional manner.
IN PAKISTAN, WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON PROCEDURES PEOPLE COME FOR?
Skin pigmentation, acne, scars, laser hair removal and wrinkles. In surgeries they want liposuction, rhinoplasty andÂ tummy-tucks. Although, now facial rejuvenation surgery and fat transfer is gaining popularity.
WHATâ€™S THE PROCESS WHEN YOU FIRST MEET A CLIENT?
I always listen to what they have in mind. If I can help, I provide options, be it nonsurgical or surgical. If I cannot help them, I refer to colleagues who can.
DO MANY CLIENTS ASPIRE TO LOOK LIKE CELEBRITIES OR MODELS?
Some do, however I educate and explain how I cannot make a person look like someone else. Everything I do is extremely serious and I am amazed at how trivial it is assumed to be. Some have a casual approach and once I explain the real picture of what it will take to get what they want, they get surprised. I love the patients who educate themselves beforehand by a simple Google search, and by reading online forums. It only takes a few minutes, and it helps create a clearer picture for us both.
WHAT IS BEAUTY TO YOU?
Beauty begins from the deepest part of oneâ€™s inner self and radiates outward to the surface. One cannot truly be beautiful if one does not have a beautiful heart. Beauty gives one power and can cause more harm than good in this world.
WHY DO YOU THINK PEOPLE IN PAKISTAN DO NOT ADMIT TO UNDERGOING COSMETIC CHANGES?
It is a taboo here. People lie a lot more than you think. Although, I must add that I enjoy treating millennials for their skin issues or laser treatments, as they are more open about it and know exactly what to expect. Things are changing.
HOW DO YOU PICK A QUALIFIED SURGEON FOR COSMETIC CHANGES?
Conduct your own research into their background training, specialist degrees and ask for the before/after images. Also ask their patients and wait around the reception area to see results.Â Â Yes, it is nosy, but it helps. Also, dig out information online and ask other specialists about the doctorâ€™s reputation and expertise. Aesthetic medicine is the most innovative specialty and things change fast. You need to be treated by a doctor who is well trained, safe and holds a solid reputation for their work.
Recently, there have been a lot of skincare clinics popping up around town. Whatâ€™s your take on that?
It is both good and bad. Businessmen have opened clinics offering machines which are substandard, promising a â€˜facelift, no more wrinkles, foreverâ€™ after a single session of a poor quality ultrasound machine. These can be misleading; they do the same with body treatments tooâ€”promising inches off with one session. I always say: where are the before and after? There is a huge lack of ethics and zero regulation from medicaI authorities in this field. If a proper investigation is done, half of these clinics would be shut down. I get patients coming in every single day disheartened from such clinics, which is sad. I must add some clinics are okay with qualified skin specialists, but always do a background check on qualifications and demand to see lots of real patientsâ€™ before and after images and real results. For predictable and best results, you should choose a certified doctor, with appropriate qualifications and experience. Be inquisitive and be wise.
WHAT SURGERIES ARE TRENDING THESE DAYS?
Face and body fat transfer. The type of fat is different. For the face, the stem cells are enriched and softer, called nano-fat. For the body itâ€™s micro-fat and it helpsto volumise and give better shape and contour.
WHEN SHOULD PEOPLE START ANTI-AGING REGIMENS?
From the age of 25.
WHAT IS YOUR ALL-TIME FAVORITE PROCEDURE?
It keeps changing. Nowadays, I enjoy facial rejuvenation surgery, rhinoplasty, plus nonsurgical optionsÂ related to addressing all areas of the face such as eyelids, the nose, cheeks, temples, brows, chin, jawline and facial sculpting. You can say I am becoming a super sub-specialist in the face, having been in practice for over a decade nowâ€¦. I believe I have arrived.
HOW DOES ONE GET IN TOUCH WITH YOU?
I am a fan of social media and the connectivity it provides. Prospective clients can contact me on my Instagram (@dr.obt or @halcyonclinics) and I will be sure to respond at my earliest.
Interview by Mahnoor Wali