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As Lebanon heals from civil and military unrest, cosmetic surgery is alive and well

Article-As Lebanon heals from civil and military unrest, cosmetic surgery is alive and well

Key iconKey Points

  • Cosmetic procedures are seen as a sign of status in Lebanon
  • Cosmetic surgery as an independent specialty still does not exist in Lebanon

Having survived the ravages of civil war as well as military conflicts within its borders and in the Middle East for decades, Lebanon and its capital, the once-again-bustling Beirut, have risen from the ashes of conflict and are looking toward the future.

The eastern Mediterranean country's citizens are working to put the past behind them and live in a thriving, modern society. This mindset may be one reason why the country's cosmetic surgery industry is growing, says a leading surgeon who lives there.

Dr. Hamdan
Based on a multiethnic and multisectarian society, Lebanon can be characterized as a country of extremes, where both modern thinking and more orthodox dogma pervade all levels of the society. The driving theme among most Lebanese, however, is to modernize and shake the stereotypes of old, says Firas Hamdan, M.D., Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, Genifor Center, Beirut, and former medical director of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. "Lebanon's desire for modernization and westernization is alive and well and can be best exemplified by the booming cosmetic industry seen in the country," Dr. Hamdan says. "The state of unrest and the volatile geopolitical climate of late has not grossly impacted the progressive evolution of the Lebanese society, including the popularity of cosmetic surgery. This is mostly due to the Lebanese people's voracity for modernization and strong will to move forward."

According to Dr. Hamdan, Lebanon has always been a bit different than some of its neighbors with regard to accepted societal norms and values. In this light, cosmetic surgery is advanced, forward-thinking and open, very similar to that witnessed in Western societies.

"Lebanon is a very open society without the stereotypical taboos which can be seen in many of its neighboring countries around the region. Religious beliefs are important, but because the diverse religions in the country are tolerated, the Lebanese society reflects more of a Western or European atmosphere, with similar cultural values and norms, which can be evidenced by the popularity of cosmetic surgery," Dr. Hamdan says.

AESTHETIC INTERESTS GROW Decades ago, the focus on cosmetic surgery in Lebanon was on reconstructive procedures following burns and trauma. These procedures soon expanded to include breast reconstruction and abdominoplasty, Dr. Hamdan says, which have since gone mainstream and are now performed for both functional and aesthetic reasons.

"In terms of popularity and technique, the cosmetic surgery procedures we perform in Beirut are very similar to those performed in Western societies, including liposuction, liposculpture, mammaplasty, blepharoplasty, minimally invasive facelifts and skin tightening, backed by the numerous state-of-the-art technologies available to address those cosmetic issues," Dr. Hamdan says.

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