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Chase for the perfect body

 Jackie Matubia, Risper Faith, Huddah Monroe [Courtesy, Instagram]

It all started with skin lightening. Then a butt enhancement followed. Come 2014, the popular socialite now turned entrepreneur Vera Sidika took her body transformation journey further complete with ‘fake’ boobs implants followed by a butt enhancement.

A year ago, she gave birth to her first baby and soon after revealed that she was planning to undergo breast surgery – again.

 Altering looks can be an expensive affair and a risky one too for that matter. Lifting a dropping butt goes for between Sh200,000 and Sh400,000. Vera’s boob transformation was done in Beverly Hills, California and from her confession, she paid a lot for the procedure.

 It all started with skin lightening [Courtesy, Veetox Instagram, Files Standard]

 Earlier this week, Vera was trending after announcing she had undergone surgery. She posted a photo of her looking transformed. Her bum and boobs look largely reduced, the same as her body shape.

 She says she underwent fresh body changes due to health risks and complications and termed the experience as difficult. 

 Earlier this week, Vera was trending after announcing she had undergone surgery [Courtesy, Vera Sidika Instagram]

 “The rebirth … This has been the hardest phase in my life. Due to health risks and complications, I had to undergo surgery. It is still unbelievable but I have come to terms with it and learnt to love myself regardless,” Vera wrote on her social media platforms.

 “I am lucky to be alive. God loves me so much. Honestly, it has been pretty hard. I did not even celebrate my birthday this year, but here we are. Happy birthday to me. A new me. I have come to appreciate life and never take things for granted. Thanks to my family, especially my husband for being there for me,” she said.

 Vera also told her fans that she would share her journey to help those contemplating surgery to get a bigger behind, saying, “this might change your mind.”

 Huddah Monroe underwent a hip and boob enlargement in 2018. Risper Faith splashed Sh450,000 on liposuction surgery to restore her hourglass figure in 2020.

 Huddah Monroe [Courtesy, Instagram]

 In May this year, she announced that she was considering undergoing another surgery, and barely a week ago, Kate Actress showed off her body transformation after undergoing a gastric balloon weight loss procedure.

 The limelight beauties have been flaunting their new looks after the procedures with Jackie Matubia being the latest to open up on her weight loss journey after undergoing a process that only took her 15 minutes.

 “I have been trying everything to get my shape back. It has been a nightmare. Every woman likes to look good and I am happy I will flaunt my old awesome look again in a matter of days,” Risper told Eve after undergoing her first liposuction surgery.

 Risper Faith [Courtesy, Instagram]

 Liposuction is a non-invasive surgical procedure to remove fat from specific areas of the body, which can then be used to enhance other body parts. Areas usually targeted are the hips, thighs, abdomen, buttocks, neck, and arms. 

 Aside from her butt and boobs enhancement, Vera’s lighter skin procedure that took place in the UK, is said to have cost her a whopping Sh17 million. Huddah Monroe said she almost died after a breast enlargement procedure done in a clinic in Beverley Hills, US.

 According to a report by WhatClinic, currently, liposuction, hair restoration, in-vitro fertilisation, and breast implants are the leading cosmetic procedures Kenyans seek here and abroad.

 While liposuction is by no means a novel procedure in the world of plastic surgery, a burning question remains: would you go under the knife to get the perfect breasts, waist, or butt even if it meant that you could lose your life?

 It is a risk many put themselves through simply to achieve their desired looks. It is the new trend in town that has been adopted by both the young and older generations.

 Some patients have not been as lucky in their quest for perfection. One wrong move may cost one life as was the case with Julie Wanza, who died after experiencing complications following a breast augmentation surgery.

 Alice Muriuki, a medic at a Nairobi hospital, says that just like other treatments, liposuction or any form of body-shaping procedure is treated with confidentiality. In most cases, doctors have to custom-tailor a patient’s treatment plan according to specified needs and budget.

 “The fact is that many people undergoing this surgery have a good attitude of being forever young. I am not just talking about women but also men who no longer want to be seen with beer bellies.

 “The thing is, one has to ascertain several things before they indulge. Always find out if the medical facility is accredited to perform the kind of body-contouring procedure you are looking for, and how many years of experience the specialist has. Besides, Nairobi is lately one of the leading places across Africa when it comes to the practice of cosmetic surgery,” said Muriuki.

 Woman measuring her waist [Courtesy, Shutterstock]

 Mary Wavinya says she underwent liposuction after she discovered that at 40 years, her body had changed yet she was still “in the market”.

 In 2016 alone, at least 9,000 Kenyans travelled overseas for medical check-ups. About 120,000 enquired about cosmetic surgery but there was no record of the actual numbers that went for surgery.

 India, the UK, South Africa, and Malaysia are among the top destinations for plastic surgery.

 “All surgeries carry risks so you should make sure you are prepared for every eventuality. Travel can make things a lot more complicated, so preparation and research will help you avoid some of the common pitfalls,” said WhatClinic’s Head of Consumer Matters Philip Boyle in a report.

 While it is evident that overseas countries have more experienced specialists, it does not necessarily mean all cosmetic procedures proceed without a hitch.

 Dr Abdullahi Adan, a certified plastic, reconstructive, and aesthetic (cosmetic) surgeon, says the need for cosmetic surgery in Kenya has grown over the years.

 Jackie Matubia [Courtesy, Instagram]

 He says the cosmetic treatments that are available in Kenya today are wide and varied so much so that one no longer has to travel outside the country for them. The treatments cover above the neck, under the neck, and the lower body depending on a client’s needs and wants.

 “We can do everything from removing one’s double chin, to reducing one’s cheekbones if they feel that their cheekbones are too chubby, to creating a more defined jawline, to even creating dimples for clients who were not born with them but have always wanted dimples. We also do hair transplants for those with receding hairlines,” says Dr Adan.

 He adds that cosmetic options for areas below the neck include breast augmentation, which involves enlarging the breasts and giving them a more appealing shape and appearance. There is also breast lift and breast reduction including male breast reduction (gynecomastia), Brazilian butt lift, liposuction, and tummy tuck.

 “The most popular procedure now is the tummy tuck and liposuction,” says Dr Adan.

 Other procedures include laser hair removal treatment for dark skin, hymenoplasty which is the surgical repair of the hymen, and vaginoplasty.

 Dr Adan offers a cost list of some procedures: “A tummy tuck costs about Sh800,000, Brazilian butt lift about Sh1 million, breast augmentation about Sh500,000, liposuction about Sh650,000, and cellulite removal about Sh750,000.”

 In addition to aesthetic procedures, Adan also performs reconstructive surgery, as well as hand surgery. There is also clitoral restoration surgery (female genital mutilation repair) for survivors in Kenya, often for free.

 According to Italian actress Sophia Loren, nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful. So what would drive a woman to want to change her appearance, is it for the male gaze that they crave, or does it simply boil down to insecurity?

 Lightspeed Magazine notes the practice of body modification started over 10,000 years ago and has just continued to evolve over the years. It began with tattoos and scarification designs. From there, body modification grew to embrace more extreme forms of body modification such as implants, more so on women.

 This new plastic surgery trend, the Brazilian Butt Lift, better known as a BBL, is a type of buttock augmentation that uses your fat to add to the shape, and size of your backside.

 Just like fashion, beauty standards change with time. The ideal beauty standard in the early 2000 for women was a very thin white model type such as socialite Paris Hilton.

 However, with the influence of art and music, singers like Beyoncé and influencers like Kim Kardashian were openly expressing their love for their curves and especially their backsides. Through the growth of social media came the power to influence their millions of followers.

 With the inclusivity of fuller figures being celebrated, beauty ideals started to shift. But one has to ask who are they doing this for and why? Some may argue that they do it to attract men of a higher calibre whose preference and desire is a “thicker woman” as heard and seen in music videos while others say it just comes down to insecurity and pressure to be accepted.

 During the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, plastic surgeons saw a rise in women getting cosmetic surgery with some even ignoring safety precautions to travel to countries such as Mexico and the Dominican Republic to get these procedures done.

 They attributed it to people having lots of time to examine and compare themselves and more time to heal from procedures.

 Gluteal Fat Grafting says that one in 3,000 BBLs resulted in death, earning the surgery the title of the world’s most dangerous cosmetic procedure, and yet, still every day, women are preparing to risk their lives to change their appearance.

 - Additional information from Standard Newspaper files

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