The FINANCIAL — According to popular plastic and aesthetic surgery clinics in Georgia, fear of becoming a victim of job cuts or early retirement is encouraging middle-aged Georgians to visit aesthetic centres more than otherwise. Facial and weight loss surgery is rapidly developing in Georgia, attracting a large number of patients from abroad. Contrary to popular belief, a significant number of the people wanting to artificially change their appearance are actually male.
Marlen Sulamanidze, founder of Total Charm, a plastic aesthetic surgery and cosmetology clinic in Tbilisi, who operated on the famous Russian pop star Alla Pugachova, says that having a good appearance is key to achieving success in life.
“The global recession did not affect our business,” Sulamanidze says.
“About 25-30% of our patients are male. Most of them are having facelifts, liposuction or rhinoplasty done. The younger you look the more chances you have of holding on to your position at work,” Alexander Kuzanov, Doctor of Medicine and Plastic Surgeon of Esta Kuzanov Clinic, told The FINANCIAL.
Nose surgery, liposuction and breast augmentation are the most popular operations sought by Georgians.
Esta Kuzanov Clinic sees about 40-60 patients every month.
“Considering the fact that Georgians and Caucasians in general are characterized by hooked noses, rhinoplasty has become very popular in Georgia. We can say the same for liposuction,” Kuzanov says.
Botox injections, which are characterized by the simplicity of the procedure, beat other methods aimed at face stretching, in terms of popularity.
“Recently Botox has started gaining popularity abroad and also in Georgia. Botox lets us postpone a facelift by up to 15-20 years,” Kuzanov says.
“The clients we see requesting Botox injections claim to visit our clinic more often than their stylists. Botox results in a prevention of wrinkles by paralyzing facial muscles. Its affect lasts from 4 to 6 months. When you look at Nicole Kidman, you can see that she uses Botox, but that she has overused it. She is not able to naturally express emotion on her face anymore. The main advantage of Botox is that its patients need subsequently lower doses each time. Having Botox is as simple as putting on make-up. You do not need any special equipment or preparation beforehand, just a syringe,” Kuzanov says.
Kuzanov says that they see patients as young as 35 year olds requesting facelifts.
“The reason for that is an unhealthy way of life. The most common thing that causes premature aging of the skin is smoking. We do not operate on smokers as a rule. They are obligated to give up smoking and only after three months, and presentation of the results of analyses as proof, do we do a facelift. It has been proven that the post operational recovery period lasts longer for smokers.”
The price for liposuction at Esta Kuzanov Clinic starts from 350 GEL. The cost of nose surgery starts from 2,100 GEL depending on the difficulty of the work. The price of breast implants varies between 3,000-5,600 GEL. As for a facelift it depends on the extent of the work. Prices range from between 3,000-7,000 GEL.
The price for a Botox injection is from 200 to 400 GEL.
“We offer instalments at TBC and ProCredit banks. After the August war we did see a reduction in demand for plastic surgery, but we instead saw an increase in reconstruction surgery. Our clinic received a large number of patients that had been injured during the war and were being financed by the Ministry of Healthcare,” states Lela Osikmashvili, Director of the Marketing Department of Esta Kuzanov Clinic.
Osikmashvili says that the majority of patients are from the middle classes of Georgian society. Presently the clinic is offering discounts until the end of January, but from February they are thinking of increasing prices, if devaluation of the GEL towards the USD continues. “But if there are not any further changes in the economy then we will maintain are current rates,” Osikmashvili says.
“About 20-30% of our patients are foreigners. We have lots of patients from post soviet countries, but since we redid our website we have been receiving more patients from Europe, Israel and the USA,” Osikmashvili tells.
“Considering the purchasing capacity of most Georgians the demand for plastic surgery is relatively high,” says Giga Mikautadze, General Manager of Gia Gvaramia Aesthetic Medicine Center.
“The crisis has not affected us much. Demand did decrease by 15% but we have already managed to restore our pre-recession volume. Plastic surgery is cheaper in Georgia than in our neighbouring countries and Europe. As a result a large number of our customers are from abroad. About 10-12% of our customers are foreigners. We receive the largest number of patients from Azerbaijan and Armenia. That must be for the reason that the plastic surgery sphere is less developed in those countries,” Mikautadze reveals.
Gia Gvaramia Aesthetic Medicine Center does approximately 50-60 plastic operations a month. The most demanded operations are liposuction, nose surgery and breast augmentation.
Mikautadze says that plastic surgery, if not the correction of natural defects, is not recommended for people under the age of 16.
The price for liposuction in the thigh zone varies from 1,500 to 2,000 GEL. The price for one thigh is 650 GEL. Weight loss surgery in the stomach area varies from around 1,700-2,500 GEL. The cost for breast augmentation is 2,000 GEL for the operation, and the price for each implant varies from 1,200 to 2,500 GEL according to the size of the breast.
Nose surgery costs 1,200-3,500 GEL.
As for Botox, approximate cost for the eye area is around 200-250 GEL. The exact price is 600 GEL per milligram.
As Sulamanidze is working in Moscow, Georgian patients have to reserve appointments in advance. “During the course of two weeks I will serve six customers. On average there will be two women from Russia and one man from England.”
“About 15% of our customers are men. The approximate age of men is from 30 to 40 years, as for the females their age varies from 16 to 76 years,” Mikautadze says.
The price for an eyebrow lift at Total Charm is 700 GEL. Nose surgery costs around 2,000-5,000 GEL. An operation in the stomach area varies around 3,500-5,000 GEL. Breast augmentation costs from 2,500 to 4,000 GEL. Liposuction of the face is 900 GEL, neck – 600 GEL, and stomach – 2,500 GEL.