From blindness and paralysis to death - the risks of vanity.

Five cosmetic procedures that you think are simple but can be dangerous
news Health Wednesday, June 08, 2016 - 19:13

It was a routine procedure that went horribly wrong. The death of Santosh Kumar, a 22-year-old medical college student following a botched up hair transplant at a salon in Chennai has raised several questions over other ‘simple procedures’ being carried out by beauty parlours, salons and clinics. 

A number of such establishments across the country offer a range of cosmetic treatments and procedures that have otherwise been performed by professionally trained doctors. “As doctors, we have a code of ethics. We can’t advertise healthcare services or products. But other groups, having no such restrictions to advertise, misuse this and lure people,” says Dr K Ramachandran, Senior Consultant, Cosmetic Surgery at Apollo Hospitals. And with lower overheads, salons like the one that Santosh went to, end up offering cheaper services than hospitals or clinics.

With the cosmetic surgery market in India estimated at Rs 460 crore, it’s no surprise there has been a boom in beauty salons and parlours carrying out such procedures, which are mostly but not quite non-invasive. But cosmetic surgeons like Dr Ramachandran warn that they need to be carried out by people who are qualified, doctors with a post-graduate degree in dermatology or plastic surgery.

He stresses, “People undergoing such procedures should be made aware of the risks and the symptoms. Also are there back-ups if something goes wrong?” The cosmetic surgeon says, above all, the patient should be given time to reason out and decide whether the procedure is for them.    

Here are five cosmetic procedures that are being widely carried out but should only be done by a qualified professional:

Botox and fillers

Made glamorous by celebrities and movie stars to get rid of facial wrinkles, botox shots have been in demand for several years. But doctors warn that the injection, which prevents muscles from contracting, can cause paralysis up to six months, if done wrong.   

Derma fillers, another non-surgical treatment, used to smoothing wrinkles and plump up ageing skin, are carried out by beauticians without medical qualifications.  But there have been instances of people becoming blind after facial fillers were mistakenly injected into a blood vessel. In some extreme cases, fillers have even caused ‘patients’ to suffer strokes, reported Daily Mail.    

Chemical Peels

Facials are routine treatments for beauticians. But nowadays, many are opting for a chemical peel to treat wrinkles caused by sun damage or ageing, acne, and reduce age spots or freckles. But this “skin rejuvenation” procedure, if applied incorrectly, can burn skin and sometimes cause permanent damage.      

Facelift describes a facelift as a surgical procedure performed to correct “deep creases below the lower eyelids, deep creases along the nose and loose skin under the chin and jaw” among others. While the “minor surgery” requiring local anaesthesia can be performed at a clinic or a consultation room, the procedure comes with its set of risks.  As is the case of any surgical procedure, those who undergo a facelift, can suffer from an allergic reaction to anaesthesia, prolonged bleeding and infection, notes the website. Skin pigment changes, scarring and asymmetry are some specific complications arising from a facelift surgery.


Commonly known as the “nose job”, this surgical procedure is performed to make changes to the nose and is popular among the age group of 25 -30 years. According to webmd, “Rhinoplasty may be done using general or local anaesthesia” and is usually done as an outpatient procedure.  Like other surgical procedures, there are complications associated with anaesthesia. But the other risks associated with rhinoplasty include injury or holes to your septum, skin problems, infection and serious nasal blockage, states webmd.   

Hair transplant

The surgery involving transplanting hair follicles to a bald patch on the scalp is also performed under local anaesthesia. Dr. Ramachandran says it is “not minor surgery”, with procedure lasting for as long as six to eight hours. While Santosh died due to delayed anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction, the other risks include excessive bleeding, infection, wide scars and small bumps on the scalp, reported