Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 5th 2015 Contents 6 | WOW MAGAZINE
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt April 5, 2015
| WELLNESS |
"As for cosmetic
surgery, it is
here, because it
but it also helps to
is now as common
as any other
By Bavina Sookdeo
AS EARLY AS 600BC, a Hindu surgeon reconstructed a nose using a piece of cheek. Since then, the fields of plastic
surgery and cosmetic surgery have been growing and improving consistently. There is no doubt that both procedures
improve the lives of many. This type of surgery, once popular amongst television stars, is now common throughout
Many women and men are travelling to different countries to get procedures done. Cosmetic surgery is rapidly be-
coming as common as any other surgery. Some foreigners are actually coming to our shores to have cosmetic surgery
done. In light of the challenges faced by our energy sector --- a sector that has supported this country for many years
--- one may question, "What can we turn to in order to survive a downturn in energy?" Diversification is indeed im-
portant at this time, and medical tourism may just be the way to go.
WOW spoke to several men and women of countries known for cosmetic surgery. We asked, "Would you consider
coming to Trinidad to have cosmetic procedures done?" One Colombian woman stated, "I would, but only if it is
cheaper, and safe." A Venezuelan insisted that Trinidad is not known for this type of thing, so she isn't sure if she
would visit until it becomes reputable.
One Trinidadian woman, however, said she has done cosmetic surgery at Sureway Weight Loss Clinic, and she is
quite pleased with the results. She related, "Initially, I wanted to go to Margarita to get breast implants and liposuction
done, but I got some very bad reviews so I did it right here in Trinidad and I am quite pleased with the outcome. I have
a two-year-old daughter, and when I look at myself in the mirror, I am very happy." A man from Santo Domingo said
he is more adventurous and would definitely come to Trinidad to do the surgery, as long as it is cheaper.
It is clear that the main concern of potential clients is the cost factor. Asked about this, Dr Surelia Reid, owner of the
Sureway Weight Loss Clinic insisted that when compared to the United States of America, her rates are way cheaper.
"Cosmetic surgeries can cost up to $100,000TT (in the US) but at our Clinic it goes from $5,000TT to $50,000TT."
What makes it cheaper? Reid, the holder of a Bachelors of Science degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University
of the West Indies, and who qualified in Cosmetic Surgery in New Jer-
sey, disclosed, "I have my own operating theatre and that makes it
cheaper, because clients do not have to pay for a nursing home."
In addition, the doctor pointed out, "Our procedures are different from nor-
mal cosmetic surgeries in that they are done under local anaesthetic, where
the area of fat to be removed is numbed only, as opposed to normal surgery
where general anaesthetic is used. This means fast recovery, and the pa-
tient can return to work the next day," the doctor stated, "whereas under
general anaesthetic recovery time is six weeks. Sureway is the only insti-
tution in the Caribbean offering this sort of surgery."
So the question remains --- Can Trinidad and Tobago be seen as a place
that one could journey to in order to get cosmetic procedures done, ulti-
mately promoting tourism? Dr Reid insists that it can, and she is working
tirelessly to ensure this. "I have customers coming from Canada and even
the US," she noted, "and we are currently selling franchises in the US." On
average, Reid does 150 surgeries per month and her business has grown
tremendously. Reid recently opened another operating theatre to deal with
the demand. She now has theatres in San Fernando, Chaguanas and Tu-
She currently has on her team plastic surgeons and doctors from Cuba and
India. She disclosed that most of her patients are between the ages of 25
and 50. The demand for cosmetic surgery has influenced Reid to provide
financing to her patients. "A lot of young people want to access the surger-
ies, but they cannot afford it all at once. As a result, I provide in-house fi-
nancing, but clients must be permanently employed."
Reid does see one serious challenge in making Trinidad and Tobago a cos-
metic surgery destination. "The taboo," she says. "We need to get over that.
People here are doing surgeries and are ashamed to say they did it, because
of our mindset. In the States, everybody is doing it and they are so proud
What Reid pointed out is exactly the case. Of the 20 Trini men and women
interviewed, only two said they would admit to the public they did have a
cosmetic procedure done. Most of the men also admitted that they would
not have any procedure, but if they did, they would not mind doing it locally
because they do have confidence in our local doctors.
As Reid stated, "With the right mindset, and qualified, experienced doctors,
Trinidad and Tobago can become the gem of the Caribbean where medical
tourism is concerned. As for cosmetic surgery, it is growing rapidly here, be-
cause it not only encourages a healthier lifestyle, but it also helps to improve
one's mental state. Cosmetic surgery is now as common as any other med-
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