Dubai, UAE: The spa at Atlantis, The Palm has become the first in the emirate to offer cosmetic surgery.
Non-invasive treatments such as botox, fillers and teeth-whitening will be available to tourists and residents.
Bosses say it will appeal to those seeking a less clinical environment.
Performing the procedures will be Dr Karim Fekih, whose dental practice, The Clinic, is in Dubai International Financial Centre, and Dr Maurizio Viel, who runs the London Centre For Aesthetic Surgery in Dubai Healthcare City and a clinic on London’s Harley Street.
Gail Clough, founder of Dubai Surgery, which has brought patients to Dubai for various forms of surgery for about 10 years, said Dr Viel was a well-respected surgeon.
“I’d have no problem recommending him. These procedures are so minor to him that it’s like making a cup of tea,” she added.
Dr Fekih said: “It’s convenient for people. When you’re on your holidays you may be more inclined to do a treatment you wouldn’t do otherwise or you may not have time to do.”
And rates are competitive. Teeth whitening is Dh2,500 – about 20 per cent cheaper than Europe or the UK.
“For people who are afraid of going to the dentist, this is a very good alternative,” Dr Fekih said.
He believes tourists and residents will prefer the surroundings of the ShuiQi spa to a traditional dental surgery. “Patients are so relaxed here that most of them while having procedures like cleaning or whitening end up falling asleep,” he said.
Dr Viel pioneered the idea to set up in the hotel. He and Dr Fekih hope to expand their services, but for now they are sticking with the basic procedures since being licensed by the Dubai Health Authority.
Dr Viel said the most popular treatments were botox and fillers.
Ms Clough said treatments such as retinox were seen by many as better value than a facial, which in the spa costs about Dh500. Dr Viel’s rates in Dubai are about 10 to 15 per cent cheaper than his London clinic.
“People don’t want a girl to scrub their face for 20 minutes in an expensive facial – they can do that themselves at home – when they can have a treatment for not that much more that will knock 10 years off you,” she said.
But medical tourism is always risky, warned Dr Hassan Galadari, an Emirati dermatologist and assistant professor at UAE University.
“My problem with this is the lack of follow up,” he said. “Botox takes on average two weeks to work and the patient needs to be seen for touch-ups. You can’t do that in this case. Fillers can also lead to bruising.”
Ms Clough said that even after a few days the doctor could see if a patient needed a top-up, so could monitor them quite quickly.
“There’s always a small risk with these things but with someone like Dr Viel, it’s 95 per cent right first time,” she said. “These procedures are very straightforward for surgeons of this calibre.”
Dr Viel says if hotel guests stayed for a week or longer, they returned within a few days for a check-up.
“The fact we also have a clinic in London also helps as many of the patients are European, British or Irish, so they can have access to the clinic there if necessary,” he said. His twin brother runs the Harley Street clinic.
“The beauty of these treatments is they don’t affect someone’s holiday like a surgery [such as a tummy tuck] would,” he said. “With Dr Fekih, we can do a lot of improvements to a person while they still enjoy the beach and their holiday. The teeth are a big part of how the face looks. This way we can give the full package.”
© The NationalApr 2013