Materia Medica Malaysiana

January 27, 2008

Do research and get opinions, say experts

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 4:40 pm

NST: LASER and cosmetic consultant Dr Kuladeva Ratnam advises his patients to get as many opinions as they can.
Dr Ratnam, who has a private practice in Bangsar, believes that while the Health Ministry is playing its role in weeding out bogus operators, patients owe it to themselves to do some checking.
“All surgical procedures come with risks, but it is important to choose a surgeon who is able to handle any complication in the event of an emergency,” he said.
Patients should demand a medical screening and allergy tests before going under the knife.
Said consultant occupational physician Dr Alice Prethima: “If you are scheduled for a nip and tuck and your surgeon has not asked for your medical records, this is a clear sign that he does not have your best interest at heart.”
Many are unaware of the allergies they have, especially to antibiotics. There is also a possibility of being “hyper” to foreign substances that may cause complications.
With silicone and other fillers easily available, people need to be extra cautious.
“I was shocked when a woman with a bag full of liquid walked into my clinic requesting to be injected with whatever she had brought with her,” Dr Alice said.
The substance turned out to be an industrial-type silicone, not for use on humans. It was claimed the liquid could enhance the breasts, hips or buttocks.
Dr Alice says that in most botched nip and tuck cases, the patients cannot identify the product that was used, making it all the more difficult to address the problem.
“Any good substance for cosmetic purposes should be sterile-packed and easily identifiable from the packaging.
“We are in an ‘information age’ where there is ample opportunity to do your own research and learn from other people’s experiences through websites and forums.”
Dr Alice warns against trying to mimic cosmetic procedures done on friends and family, as each person’s body and cells react differently.
“For someone who is overweight, I would advise against having liposuction. This procedure is for clearing ‘difficult’ fats and not for changing your overall body shape.
“In this instance, non-invasive procedures should be considered before taking such a big risk under the knife.”
When choosing the surgeon, she suggests that the patient insists on speaking to the attending doctor directly and not the receptionist or “consultant”.
“Most beauty consultants work by commission and are in competition to win over customers. There are reports of clients receiving contradictory advice from the same clinic.
“Any Tom, Dick and Harry can be trained, but it is in the face of complications when the truth is revealed.”
Lee Swee Seng, a mediator with Medical Defence Malaysia, says people should conduct research before any surgery.
“Do your research for whatever it is worth. Get second opinions if necessary. The Internet has proven to be a valuable avenue for information.
“It wouldn’t hurt to ask the doctor if you could get in touch with one of his clients to find out about the surgery.”

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