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Experts may have found the secret to being ‘forever young’— but it doesn’t come cheap

Determined to stay wrinkle-free, people in their 20s and 30s are delaying ageing through early cosmetic improvements

15 June 2022 - 09:00 By Nombuso Kumalo
Image: Nick Boulton

US rapper Jay-Z’s 2009 anthem Young Forever, featuring Mr Hudson, sampled German synth-pop band Alphaville’s 1984 hit Forever Young with its wistful take on humanity’s age-old fascination with immortality.

More than 10 years later, the hook of the Jay-Z version is still emblematic of many of our lifestyle choices. Whether you are mindful of it or not, we are advocates for the preservation of our tomorrow, today.

And so, what is a more contemporary cause than dipping our toes in cosmetic surgery’s promised fountain of youth?

People discreetly changing their appearance via cosmetic surgery is not a new phenomenon. And thanks to technological advancements and non-surgical options, cosmetic surgery is not only widely accepted but also viewed as a pleasant refresh rather than an alienating alteration.

In its annual global survey of aesthetic and cosmetic procedures, the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery report shows that demand for cosmetic procedures has not been dampened by the pandemic.

Globally, 14-million non-surgical and 10-million surgical procedures were performed in 2020, versus 13-million non-surgical and 11-million surgical procedures in 2019.

The same survey shows that Botox is the most popular non-surgical option, with 1.4-million procedures performed in the age group 19-34 and 1.3 million in the age group 35-50 in the same period.

With 95% of his clientele being Black, plastic surgeon Dr Brian Monaisa has observed a growing number of young Black professionals approaching him for cosmetic procedures.

“Most of my clientele for surgeries are between the ages of 28 and 48, with the common age being 34. These are women who are done with having kids, are financially well-off, and are ready to start the next phase,” he says.

Monaisa is a certified medical practitioner and the gifted hands behind the chiselled bodies of many local celebrities. After completing his MBChB at the University of Cape Town he specialised in plastic surgery at Wits University.

He is currently the head of plastic surgery at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and runs a private practice — Marang Aesthetics, a medical aesthetic spa at NetCare Pinehaven Hospital.

Marang Aesthetics offers skincare, body rejuvenation, and prejuvenation — a series of steps to delay the changes associated with the appearance of aged skin. Staying true to its philosophy of helping clients live their best life, its non-surgical offerings include medical-grade peels, Botox, fillers, and vaginal rejuvenation.

Monaisa is driven by the belief that plastic surgery is a tool to improve quality of life, and his non-profit organisation, Smile Artists Africa, brings together plastic surgery and the creative arts to close the gap in terms of access to healthcare for the impoverished.

Determined to stay wrinkle-free, people in their 20s and 30s are delaying ageing through early cosmetic improvements. Monaisa believes that this can be attributed to a greater acceptance of plastic surgery among younger people, access to information, and improved technology.

“In the past five years there has been an explosion in new technology that is both effective and safer for Black skin, as it doesn’t result in hyperpigmentation,” he says.

Speaking about non-invasive surgical interventions, Monaisa says that these procedures are popular with patients who want to get a little work done here and there.

“The industry is more aware of people who do not want to go under the knife if they don’t have to,” he says.

“For instance, if you’ve got a little bit of baby fat or ‘fupa’ (fat upper-pubic area) and that’s the only thing that’s bothering you, instead of liposuction, fat freezing would be ideal for you, which is a smaller non-surgical procedure that’s done before the problem gets too big.

“But if you are overweight and come for fat freezing, you won’t be much happier, as you’ll still feel that more could have been done.”

Monaisa shares the most popular cosmetic procedures in Mzansi, whether you want to hang on to your youth through the power of prejuvenation or are in search of your “all-new you”.

Plastic surgeon Dr Brian Monaisa talks about cosmetic surgery amongst young black professionals.
Plastic surgeon Dr Brian Monaisa talks about cosmetic surgery amongst young black professionals.
Image: Nick Boulton

BBL

Short for Brazilian butt lift, this is when liposuctioned fat is purified and inserted in the buttock and hip area to increase volume. “The new fat must have access to blood supply for it to survive in that area,” cautions Monaisa.

“This means that if too much fat is placed there it may be too far away from an available blood supply and dies.”

He recommends multiple sessions over several months for safety reasons, should you desire a fuller outcome. BBLs are very safe procedures that will set you back R80 000-R100 000.  

LIPOSUCTION

This is a surgical procedure that uses suction to remove fat from the hips, thighs, back, and abdomen. “The complications associated with liposuction are mostly cosmetic — uneven results, dimples, contour defects, or lumps,” he says. “By far the biggest complication with liposuction is unhappiness with results.”

The pricing for liposuction differs according to body area: abdomen from R45 000; hips, thighs, back, and arms from R90 000. Transferring fat for a BBL is an additional cost.

BREAST REDUCTION

Surgery to reduce and reshape large breasts is among the most common in the Black community. The risks are quite low, but 1 in 10 000 women do experience nipple loss or loss of sensation in the nipples. “Breast reductions have the highest rate of satisfaction at 95%, for various reasons,” he says. The cost is R60 000-R85 000.

TUMMY TUCK

The most requested procedure after a pregnancy, a tummy tuck is a powerful body-contouring procedure, defining the waist and giving a flat stomach without extra skin. The risks are associated with the patient’s being immobile after surgery.

Monaisa says that patients are under the misconception that if they move they will ruin the results of the surgery, not realising that, if they’re not mobile, they risk getting get blood clots in their legs that can lead to a pulmonary embolism. “It’s the only procedure where I keep the patient overnight to show them that they can move the following day,” he says. The cost is R85 000. 

VAGINAL REJUVENATION

This non-surgical procedure uses a wand that emits HIFU (high-intensity focused ultrasound) and electric or ultrasound waves to rejuvenate and thicken the vaginal walls. “We do it along the vaginal canal to tighten it, which gives pleasure to both,” he says.

Another procedure is the O-shot (orgasm shot) — “We take your blood, spin out the healing blood palettes, and inject the blood around the clitoris and into the G-spot,” he says. It’s extremely safe with the risk of infection of almost zero.

Three sessions last about a year and a half, with maintenance every nine to 12 months. R6 000 for three sessions.

• This article is adapted from one originally published on SowetanLIVE. Visit the SMag section for all the latest lifestyle news.

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