Leigh Crymble
3 minute read
19 Sep 2013
6:00 am

The Lo Down: plastic surgery

Leigh Crymble

To nip or not, that is the question. After all, everyone else is doing it, so it's "normal", right? At least that's what cosmetic surgeons like us to believe.

Image courtesy stock.xchnge (Kurhan)

This is with 12 million cosmetic procedures being performed in the US alone each year. Although there are no official statistics regarding the cosmetic industry in South Africa, Dr Richard Halley-Stott, spokesman for the Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons of South Africa (APRSSA), suggests that these trends are increasingly similar in a SA context.

As far as plastic surgery goes though, South Africans are still pretty tame when it comes to the type of nips and tucks chosen. It’s uncommon, for example, for SA women to opt for a “toe tuck”: a surgical procedure to shorten the second toe so that feet fit better into Jimmy Choo heels – an easy way to fight toe-besity (yes, that’s a real thing).

Cosmetic foot surgery aside, South Africans are turning to other surgical options to improve their appearance despite the often high cost of these procedures.

What are some of the most popular cosmetic surgeries for our nation? And what should you weigh up if you’re tempted to go under the knife yourself?

Breast augmentation

Number one for women is breast augmentation. There are various considerations when it comes to this surgery such as the size of the implant, the type of implant (the extra-natural components that are in saline implants or the more natural feeling you get with silicone implants), and your incision options.

These include inserting the implant through an incision under the breast, beneath the arm, or around the nipple. You can expect a recovery period of around two days with an additional week or so of swelling and pain. Oh, and a cost of between R25 000 and R45 000.


If you have a regular body weight with a few stubborn areas of fatty deposits, this might be an attractive option for you. As with all surgeries, you’ll need to be as physically fit as possible and nicotine free for at least three months prior to the surgery.

Under either a local or general anaesthetic (let’s pick general, shall we?), fat is sucked out of the body through a tube inserted into the body through several incisions. Expect a 10-day recovery period, a compression garment that needs to be worn for six weeks post-surgery and a bill of R20 000 to R35 000.


Lack of jaw definition? Sagging neckline? Constant tired look? These are some of the reasons why people opt for face lifts which tighten the skin and plump up targeted areas of the face. The end result? Ten days of wearing a strategically placed scarf to disguise bruising and swelling and later a more youthful look that will have set you back around R40 000.

If you are considering cosmetic surgery, book a consultation with a doctor who is approved through the Health Professions Council of South Africa and APRSSA to discuss your options and the risk factors involved. But be warned: those with body dysmorphic disorder (where the sufferer is excessively concerned with perceived defects in their physical features) need not apply. This is a problem, experts believe, that is much more common than most people realise.

If you choose elective surgery, it is important that your decision is one that is well-researched and one made without pressure from others.