Dubai: Celebrity cosmetic surgeon on the challenges of navigating the world of plastic surgery

Maán Jalal/Dubai
Filed on August 1, 2021

Dr. Charles Galanis talks about the right age to get work done, how to vet doctors when considering a cosmetic procedure and more in this interview.

Beauty standards aren’t going anywhere. But they are changing.

Thanks to celebrities like Jameela Jamil, Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Ashley Graham and many more, not only is our definition of beauty being redefined, but how women are portrayed in the media is also being reframed.

Yet, despite this work, there is still a growing desire by women to fine-tune their appearance. There has been a steady rise in cosmetic surgeries and procedures in the region over the years, increasing more so since the start of the pandemic.

Whether this is the intense, inescapable influence of the media and particularly social media, influencing how we see ourselves, or something that can authentically change the quality of our life, the world of cosmetic procedures can be overwhelming.

And without the right intention, guidance and advice, getting work done can cost you a lot more than money. Just watch one episode of E’s Botched and you’ll know what we mean.

To help us make sense of how to best navigate the world of cosmetic surgery, we spoke to world-renowned celebrity cosmetic surgeon Dr. Charles Galanis. A double-board certified plastic surgeon, his area of specialty is breast and skin cancer reconstructive surgery, breast and body cosmetic surgery, and non-invasive skin treatments.

Dr. Galanis operates both at his clinic in Beverly Hills, California, as well as for CosmeSurge in Dubai. While on a recent visit to Dubai, Dr. Galanis was candid with us about managing expectations, the right age to get work done, and how to vet doctors when considering a cosmetic procedure.

Younger women are seeking cosmetic surgery and noninvasive enhancements in this region. Is there a “right” age to undergo cosmetic surgery?

The age at which someone should consider plastic surgery will vary from person to person. For example, there may be a situation where a woman has large breasts which are hindering her quality of life. In those cases, a woman as young as a teenager may opt for surgery. Otherwise we generally say, wait till you’re at least 18. At that point, most of the body has grown to a point that we have a stable situation we can operate on.

How do you tackle potential patients who want “unnecessary” procedures? For example, following a trend, wanting to look like a celebrity.

First of all, you can say that all of these procedures are unnecessary. I think part of our job is managing expectations. There are certain situations where I have to diplomatically tell the patient that I don’t think I’m going to be able to meet their expectation, and I don’t want to steal their money, so I’ll decline that way.

In situations where we’re concerned about mental health, that raises bigger questions about issues like body dysmorphia. Those are situations where the patient may consider referral back to their primary care for evaluation by psychiatrists.

Can you share cases where the results of your work changed or elevated someone’s life?

The cases that come to mind have to do with patients who have lost a significant amount of weight. They may have had a surgery like a gastric sleeve or gastric bypass or maybe they lost their weight by diet and exercise, and they come to me with a lot of extra skin that’s getting in the way of them enjoying their result.

When we do these body contouring procedures, body lifts, tummy tucks, breast lifts, it’s really fulfilling for me because it’s sort of the last part of their journey back to reclaiming their life and all of a sudden they have new confidence to wear certain clothes and can finally celebrate their transformation.

What are some mistakes you see young women make when it comes to cosmetic surgery?

What I see across many cultures are a couple of things — a desire to emulate, whether it’s a social media star, movie star, TV star, or emulate images or pictures that probably are altered and not real. Therefore, they’re chasing an unrealistic standard of beauty.

From the standpoint of non surgical things, there are situations where individuals get a little bit too involved with fillers and overdo fillers in certain areas which announces to a room that they’ve had work done, which in most cases, is not what plastic surgery is intended to do.

What advice would you give someone who is interested in getting work done but doesn’t know where to start?

The Internet is a good and bad place. But certainly, it’s an easy place to start to get information on a particular procedure. Look at online reviews and results of doctors you want to consult with. Then go through with the consultation and allow yourself to have more than one consultation. It’s important to see more than one provider so you get a good feel for different ways of doing things, different approaches, the different styles of practice.


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