In the world of cosmetic procedures, Dr. Alaa Aref’s name resonates due to her impressive career path and efficient proceedings. DJ sat with the successful doctor to know more about the art of body contouring.
How did you start your medical career?
I started my career after I graduated from medical school at King Abdulaziz University. I did my MSc in clinical dermatology from King’s College in London, and that is where I grew more passionate about this specialty. I came back to Jeddah and joined the Saudi Board in dermatology and then became a licensed specialist. I was also accepted in Mount Sinai Hospital in New York where I sub-specialized in cosmetic and procedural dermatological surgery and liposuction. During my training, I met amazing dermatology experts, attended conferences and participated in many international events that equipped me with the right tools and enriched my skills in a short time.
Why did you choose cosmetic dermatology in particular?
My hobby has always been drawing facial features. I have always wanted to use my knowledge, artistic taste and painting abilities in my career. In the field of cosmetic dermatology, I treat the skin, hair and nails using treatments that are meant to improve a patient’s appearance rather than treat a disease. This is a combination of both art and medicine.
You are a liposuction specialist.
What intrigued you most in this area?
It’s interesting how we can now reverse the clock and retain a youthful and fresh look. Liposuction or liposculpting are forms of art. So to see the real life models who have undertaken this step live and represent my artistic touch means a lot to me.
What are some factors that people seem to disregard when it comes to liposuction?
As with all plastic surgeries, the success of liposuction depends on several factors like weight, age, skin elasticity and overall health. Weight in particular should be taken into consideration because it has to do with how the body responds under anesthesia.
What are the precautions to be taken before beauty surgeries such as liposuction?
Before approaching any cosmetic surgeries, make sure you are prepared mentally and physiologically. You need to ensure that the operating surgeon has the necessary credentials and that you know enough about the procedure itself. Additionally before attempting any surgery, it is advisable to stop smoking since it delays healing. You should also stay away from blood thinners like anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, a few days prior to the surgery.
What should be done during recovery from any cosmetic surgery?
For a speedy recovery, you have to drink lots of liquids. You should stay away from stress and watch what you eat. I also advise you to wear the binders for a month at least and to resume working out in two weeks.
A lot of people think that liposuction is an alternative to exercise and healthy eating. How do you respond to that?
It is not a treatment for obesity or a substitute for proper diet and exercise. It is also not an effective treatment for cellulite or loose saggy skin. It is ideal for patients who are near their goal weight, but can’t lose hereditary pockets of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. The procedure restores the attractive contour of the body and is done under local anesthesia. The removed fat can then be injected in other areas of the body to add volume like in the face, breast and buttocks.
Finally, how do you think your work has helped you become a better citizen?
I have developed a strong sense of commitment towards my community. I decided to be a health advocate to raise cosmetic awareness. I believe that my real mission is to help women and make them more aware of their skin’s health. I am also a health advocate for women and even men to help them in relation to cosmetology; because I believe how you look reflects how you feel and subsequently how you give back to community.