Monday November 14, 2011
Raw end of the deal
Stories by TAN KARR WEI, THO XIN YI and JASTIN AHMAD TARMIZI
Two customers become victims of botched surgery at unlicensed beauty centres. One ends up with a crooked nose while another endures pain after a breast augmentation procedure.
WHEN Aaron Lai (*not his real name) decided to get a nose job done about three years ago, all he wanted was to enhance his looks but did not anticipate that it would cause him so much trouble.
The 40-year-old stylist said he knew a beauty centre owner in Kuala Lumpur and she convinced him to go for plastic surgery to re-shape his nose bridge.
“I have heard about the centre and several people that I know have gone for plastic surgery there,” said Lai who then went to the centre to find out more about the process.
“The owner brought me into the centre and told me what the operation entailed. They gave me some forms to fill and I went ahead with the surgery,” said Lai.
He claimed that the doctor who operated on him spoke in Mandarin with a typical accent of a Chinese national.
The surgery involved inserting a silicone implant onto the nose bridge from under the nose.
“After the operation, I noticed that my nose bridge was slightly crooked. I told the owner that I want the doctor to fix it and went there again to see him. He seemed reluctant to do it but I insisted so we fixed for a date for the operation.
“I remember going to the centre after a photo shoot so I had some make-up on my face. I asked the doctor if I should clean my face before the operation but he said that he could just proceed with the operation.
“He removed the implant from my nose to replace a new one and I could feel him pulling it out and it hurt,” he said.
Lai claimed that in the process of fixing his nose, the doctor had also chiselled off parts of his nose bones without consulting him.
After the second implant, Lai said his nose was runny all the time and after consulting a doctor, he was told that he had a nose infection and there was a big lump of pus in his nose.
Unhappy with the surgery, Lai confronted the beauty centre owner to complain about the bad job done by the doctor. Instead of offering a solution, the owner convinced Lai to perform another surgery to enhance his looks with double eyelids.
“They were quite persuasive and I relented. It was a different doctor who operated on me but I could tell that he was also from China,” said Lai.
He now has double eyelids but Lai was not satisfied with the outcome of the surgery as one of his eyes appeared bigger than the other.
“I eventually went to Thailand to get my nose fixed and at least it looks more natural now,” said Lai, who has also undergone a liposuction at the same centre.
His friend Kathy Lim (*not her real name) works in the entertainment industry where good looks was the name of the game.
“I accompanied my friend who went for a breast augmentation at the same beauty centre and waited for her in the lobby.
She came out of the operation room with tears in her eyes because she was only given local anaesthesia and was in a lot of pain,” said Lim.
She said her friend had since healed so they did not take up the matter with the beauty centre.
Visiting the centre
Together with a male colleague posing as my friend, this reporter visited the said beauty centre located at the first floor of a commercial lot near a popular shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur.
When we entered a cosy lobby with a modern and chic decor we were greeted by several beauty consultants wearing uniforms and I told them that I wanted to have a sharper nose bridge.
A consultant ushered us into a small room with a table and three chairs and handed me a form to fill.
The first part of the form required me to fill in my personal details including address, email and telephone number.
I told the consultant that I wanted to find out more before completing the form because my husband was opposed to the idea of plastic surgery.
The form also included a section with a questionnaire on medical conditions and she urged me to complete the form for their records.
She explained that the procedure was simple, one that would be performed in the centre itself and I could return home to rest after the operation.
She left the room, returning with six different silicone implants to choose from and said that the price ranged from RM2,800 to RM6,800.
“The more expensive ones are from South Korea and has a softer texture so it would look and feel more natural,” she said.
Scrutinising my face structure, she said: “After you add the bridge, you just have to chisel a bit of bone off the lower part of the nose bridge and it would look very nice.”
I said that I still had to convince my husband and asked if I could take pictures of the silicone implants to show him but was told that we were not allowed to take pictures in the centre.
My “friend” and I started debating on how to persuade my husband and we were taken aback when the consultant said: “You could just go ahead with it if you really want to. Most men are not very observant and he might not even notice that you have done it.”
I told her that I wanted his consent before I decide on the nose job and proceeded to ask her about other services that the centre offered.
She handed us a brochure which listed several other procedures including eyebag removal, breast augmentation, liposuction and facelift.
When we asked if we could take a look at the surgery rooms she replied that we were not allowed to because the rooms were sterilised.
I told her I would call if I decide to go ahead with the surgery and she handed her business card.
She persuaded me to leave my mobile number but I politely declined, insisting that I would call her instead as we headed out of the premises.
A check with the Malaysian Medical Council website revealed that the centre was a registered place of practice but the registered doctor was not present during our consultation session.