“The love of beauty is taste; the creation of beauty is an art.”

                                                                     Ralph Waldo Emerson


The Beverly Hills surgeon Dr. David Alessi opens up about the searing demand of plastic surgery in the region. The founder and medical director of The Alessi Institute in California, USA has around 5,000 plastic surgeries to his credit. With his recently opened Medical Park Consultants Centre in Abu Dhabi, the celebrity plastic surgeon intends to spread more beauty in the region.

Dr David AlessiHow did you get interested in plastic surgery?

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It was a difficult decision as I liked everything in medical school.  Plastic surgery allowed me to perform a wide variety of surgery with often immediate results.  From reconstruction of horrible injured patients, to micro surgery for nerve repairs to cosmetic surgery; it offered the most complete variety.  Also, I have an artistic eye that helped to hone my skills.  And as it turns out, I’m pretty good at it.

Tell us about the common “quick fix” surgeries/procedures prior to award shows.

Before awards season, or any big red carpet appearances, it’s common for celebrities to come in about two weeks before, and they all come in for Botox and fillers. The best new filler is Voluma, which is injected to lift and contour the face and cheeks, and has just arrived to the UAE at our clinic. Two weeks is suggested in case bruising occurs. If there’s a smaller window of time, a couple of days before an appearance, Thermage is common for smoothing the skin and the appearance of wrinkles.

How convenient is it to have plastic surgery in today’s times?

Surgical skill, equipment, lasers, fillers, radio frequency are all getting better allowing for less, or in many cases, zero downtime…making plastic surgery very easy.

Which are the top requested surgeries when preparing for a wedding or summer vacation?

Just like when preparing for award shows, brides commonly ask for Botox, fillers and Thermage before their big day. Often, the mother of the bride will get a face lift done a couple of months before.  Brides often ask for liposuction in the months before the wedding. When it comes to Liposuction- it’s become very common that beauty is defined (though not in my opinion) by a standard body type and set of “curves.”  This is often influenced by celebrities who have generated a certain look and popularized it, like the Kardashians. So weather patients are planning for a vacation, wedding, or just looking to slim down, women are constantly going under the knife to get the “perfect” shape. 

Which, according to you are the top requested procedures in the UAE compared to the USA?

The same trends hold true in the USA and UAE.  Botox, fillers and Thermage are widely spread. When it comes to surgery, rhinoplasties or more commonly “nose jobs” and facial fat injections are very popular, and of course, liposuction and breast implants are the top 4 surgeries.  Additionally, facelifts, brow lifts and blepharoplasty (reconstruction of eyelid) as well as Brazilian butt lifts are all very common.

Do you feel that the UAE is fast catching up as a market for plastic surgery?

Traditionally, New York and Los Angeles are the biggest markets for plastic surgery, however, this has been replaced in recent years by South Korea.  Additionally, UAE is now a well-known hotbed for plastic surgery and Moscow is also ramping up.

What is the duration of prominent surgeries and their recovery period along with their probable costs (in AED)?

First, all surgeries take a full year to fully recover.  Given that, the recovery times are when the patient is back to normal activities and when they can see nice results.

*Prices typically commensurate with quality and experience of surgeon, the amount in AED is estimated!

RHINOPLASTY            7-10 DAYS    1-2 MONTHS       18500-44400AED


BLEPHAROPLASTY    7 DAYS         3 WEEKS            7400-14800AED

BROWLIFT                   7 DAYS         10 DAYS             7400-33300AED

FACELIFT                    10 DAYS        3 WEEKS            29600-96200AED

LIPOSUCTION             2 WEEKS       1 MONTH            7400-55500AED


BREAST IMPLANTS        7 DAYS       2 WEEKS            20350-37000AED

LASER RESURFACING    8 DAYS      3 WEEKS           6,660-12950AED

Is plastic surgery within the reach of a lay man or is it the privilege of the page 3 celebrities?

It is always within reach of the layman.  If it is important to them, then they will achieve their desired look.

How would you discuss the success rate and results of these procedures throwing light on the risks associated?

The revision rate (another surgery to correct problems) runs 5-10%.  This is because tissues don’t always heal the way they should.  In some inexperienced surgeon’s hands, the revision rate is much higher.  That is why a quality surgeon is so important.  Major risks such a severe reaction to anesthesia or major tissue loss is extremely rare.  The vast majority of patients are very satisfied with their procedure.

Which celebrities have taken plastic surgery too far?

Bruce Jenner, though of course not including the sex change.  His face lift was done poorly with over pulling of the skin in my opinion.  Also, there are many celebs with unrealistically small waists from binding and rib resections and over injection of fat into their bottoms. 

Is plastic surgery on the rise for men?

Yes.  Men are just as vain as women.  It is becoming much more acceptable for men to go under the knife.  However, men often start slower with Botox and fillers, rather than more drastic plastic surgeries.   The exception would be a rhinoplasty, which has become very common. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, over 400,000 men received Botox injections in 2014, marking a 337 percent increase since 2000.

Please tell us about your charity Face Forward.

In 2007, my wife Deborah and I started a non-profit organization called Face Forward where we provide both emotional support and free reconstructive surgery for survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. We have given countless physically abused women patients a new start from victims of acid burns and gunshot wounds around the globe by providing pro-bono reconstructive surgery for such patients. Now with the expansion of my practice to the UAE, we look forward to being able to treat even more international Face Forward patients as well.


About the author

12745649_10153883694653070_8300597023894782935_nBandana Jain is an independent journalist and reporter with over sixteen years of experience. She specialises in travel, art,health,fitness and lifestyle. Her forte lies in interviewing eminent personalities from different fields.Bandana also models for photoshoots and commercials and  strongly believes in giving back to the society. She can be reached at