Cosmetic surgery is not new to Nigerian women. However, its availability in the country has created the opportunity for women to correct, and fix their bodies as they desire.
Sometime last year, popular social media influencer, Omolola Taiwo Temilade called out Dr Anuoluwapo Adepoju popularly known as Dr Anu of Med contour for carrying out a cosmetic surgery procedure on her that didn’t end well. The socialite complained that she had spent millions since the procedure went wrong.
In an interview with BBC Pidgin, she disclosed that; “After the surgery, I started having complications. I started having belly burns, waist burns, waist numb, and after two months I started having fat necrosis.
“The wound she inflicted on me is yet to heal. I still go to the hospital every two days. And to dress up the wound, sometimes I spend N7,000, sometimes N10, 000 it depends because sometimes I might open the wound and another fat necrosis is already beside the wound. The doctors will have to perform another operation to bring that one out. Sometimes, the wound will be infected, then there will be a need for a swab. I buy drugs.”
Another lady also called out the same Dr Anu for giving her fat necrosis, saying because she had stayed abroad for a long time before coming to Nigeria, she had not heard tales of Dr Anu’s botched surgeries.
There was time in Nigeria when the idea of cosmetic surgery sounded like a taboo. Women were not free or bold enough to say they had gotten their bodies worked on. Even those who craved for it went to countries in Europe for their procedures as it was considered a very risky procedure in Nigeria.
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The story isn’t the same anymore. The opportunity to walk into a hospital and boldly demand for a cosmetic surgery has been created. Nigeria is now equipped with trained professionals who offer procedures such BBL (Brazilian Butt Lift), liposuction and fat transfer, adjusting specific features such as the nose, lips, chin and jaw line.
The exposure and obsession of social media also play a big role in the craze for cosmetic surgery. Social media is now filled with females who have created the seeming narrative of what the perfect body should look like – small waist with big hips, curved butts and breasts.
However, even with the risks and complications involved with the procedures, it is still on the rise as many believe that the procedure has both its pros and cons.
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A lady who spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday and has undergone a liposuction said that she wasn’t comfortable being a plus-sized woman, which was her reason for opting for the surgery. She explained that “I wasn’t ready to work it out at the gym and I figured it would be easier to manage an already trimmed body than having to go to the gym all the time.”
Another lady, Abigail Uwah, said she is considering the procedure as she cherishes the idea of having a perfect body. When asked what her reasons were, she said; “I want to enter a room and have all eyes on me. I want to feel confident and know that every part of my body is the way I want it to be.”
Although the trend is becoming very popular and gradually becoming a way of life for the Nigerian girl, it is still an idea that sounds absurd to Nigerian parents.
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Mrs Davina Effiom, who has two daughters said she wouldn’t let her children carry out such procedures as there’s a possibility of them not making it out alive. She noted that “As far as my girls are under my roof, they will learn to appreciate and love the bodies they have, after all God didn’t make mistakes in the ones He gave them.”
Another mother Mrs. Ekpe however said body dysmorphia is a big thing and with the hype all over social media, parents may have no option than to support what their daughters want. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you can’t control the actions of your children, but if you see that your girl isn’t comfortable with her body and you have the money to afford the best cosmetic surgeon, you don’t know the joy you will bring to that child,” she said.
Chief Consulting Plastic Surgeon, Federal Medical Centre Keffi, Dr Gana Josiah said that long before the craze for perfection on social media came along, many Nigerian women had been travelling to foreign countries to get their body work done. “Before cosmetic surgeons became readily available within Nigeria, women travelled to Dubai, Turkey, North America, Europe to carry out their operations,” he said.
Dr Gana noted that 80 per cent of the women who come to him for cosmetic surgery actually need it while the other percentage go for the procedures due to peer pressure, inferiority complex and body shaming.
According to Dr Gana; “As an African woman, there is a particular body build you are entitled to. However, some of the people who come for these procedures have flat butts and often times dresses and skirts do not fit their bodies, so, in some way, they deserve to get their bodies corrected by giving their butts a bit more flesh and lift. For example, a girl of 16 years old having saggy breast isn’t normal and she can decide to fix that with a cosmetic surgery.”
However, if after consultation, we see that the need for a cosmetic surgery stem from psychological issues, inferiority complex, we often insist that the patient goes to see a clinical psychiatrist to deal with their underlying trauma and emotion.”
He noted that going for a cosmetic surgery is as high-risked as any other surgical operation. “Every surgery has its complications. Childbirth is even a more complicated procedure than cosmetic surgery. However, people who often suffer complications during their surgeries are those who go to doctors who are not qualified for the job, may have had underlying health conditions and didn’t mention it, or are undergoing too many surgeries in one session.”
“To avoid risks, I always tell people to look for qualified surgeons, ask questions about the process and risks that come with the surgeries. Many of these young girls just go on the internet to search for where they could easily get the procedure done without even considering their safety and that’s why they later come back with one complaint or the other.”
Dr Gana also noted that these procedures don’t come cheap and it is through the charges that one can ascertain how good and qualified their operating surgeon is. “These surgeries don’t come cheap, the equipment and risks involved are too much for one to charge an average amount. However, after consultation and all the necessary checks are carried out by the doctor, a procedure can range from N1.3m to N3m.”
Pastor Tunde Oyeyipo who offered a religious opinion said that “Except in the case of a corrective surgery due to an accident, there’s no justifiable reason why one should decide to go under the knife just because they feel they’re not beautiful or good looking enough.”
He further explains Ecclesiastes 7:29 says; “See, this alone I have found, that God made man upright, and they have sought out many inventions.” This verse gives background explanation as to why humans dig deep for perfections.
The argument as Christians is that God created all things to be perfect, therefore why take the risk in altering God’s creation, especially when there is no need for it.