9 Dec 2012

Growing demand for cosmetic surgery in Afghanistan

7:08 am on 9 December 2012

There is a growing demand for cosmetic surgery in Afghanistan - from women.

The BBC reports that 10 years ago such procedures were mainly used to deal with injuries caused by decades of conflict.

Not long ago, the sole focus of a clinic in Kabul run by Dr Aminullah Hamkar was to repair scars caused by war, acid attacks or attempts at self-immolation by women.

However, with more people travelling outside the country since ousting of the Taliban, Cosmetic surgery is especially popular among a younger generation of Afghans.

Dr Hamkar says women feel pressured into conforming with international ideals of female beauty.

Among the most requested procedures are nose jobs, facelifts or liposuction and breast enhancements.

Eyebrow tattoos and hair transplants are more popular among younger men.

The BBC reports representatives of both sexes often request a specific look based on photos of Bollywood actors and actresses.

Dr Najibullah Najib, another plastic surgeon in Kabul, is on average dealing with two or three patients every day.

People are even coming from abroad, attracted by the comparatively low cost of treatment.

A basic nose alteration in Afghanistan costs in the region of $US300 - $US600. A similar operation in the West can cost up to 10 times more than that.

However, critics are concerned that some surgeons not sufficiently qualified to carry it out.

Abdul Ghafar Ghayoor, a plastic surgeon in a hospital in Pakistan, says that some Afghan doctors lack the necessary experience to carry out such highly technical surgery.

"I have seen a number of Afghan doctors who have [only] worked for less than a year in Iran, Pakistan, India or Russia ... This is why their work is usually not perfect," he said.