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Hourglass body that comes at a huge cost

By Stevens Muendo and Effie Wambui | November 9th 2020

Risper Faith, nine kgs of fat was sucked out of her body. As with any major surgery, Liposuction carries risks such as bleeding, complications and a reaction to anesthesia. [Courtesy]

Two years ago, socialite-turned-entrepreneur Risper Faith had a baby boy. She had put on weight during the pregnancy, and the extra pounds of fat were affecting her self-esteem.

Two weeks ago, she underwent liposuction, a surgical procedure that uses a suction technique to remove fat from specific areas of the body, such as the abdomen, hips, thighs, buttocks, arms or neck.

"I haven’t worn a bikini since the birth of my son. I was not confident of wearing one because I felt uneasy since I had lost my sexy look. I needed to sculpt the body shape I wanted to have and boost my self-esteem as a woman,” she told The Standard hours after undergoing the procedure that she said did not hurt as much as expected.

She added: "My husband and I had been looking for a solution to contour my body back to shape. When we heard of Body by Design Kenya, and that a liposuction procedure would cost Sh450,000, we were excited and hoped the process would turn out perfect."

Eight litres of fat were removed from her stomach and lower back in the process that permanently removes fat cells. In a follow-up interview, Risper said her waist is back and she can afford to flaunt her assets.

While liposuction is by no means a novel procedure in the world of plastic surgery, a burning question still 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?

This is the risk that many women (and men) are putting 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.

There are those who are doing it for health reasons while for some it is simply a means to impress.

From public figures like Huddah Monroe, Kalekye Mumo and Vera Sidika to upcoming showbiz stars and ordinary mwananchi, body sculpting has become a lucrative business in the medical world with the few centres that offer the service charging huge sums for a single operation.

Huddah openly talked about her plastic surgery experience and how she almost died from a botched procedure.

After appearing on Big Brother Africa, where housemates showered in the open, many people poked fun at her breasts or lack thereof. Though she insists this was not the motivation behind getting the surgery, she had her breasts enlarged shortly after leaving the house.

Her second surgery was performed at a clinic in Beverly Hills that counts the who's who of Hollywood as its clients. The surgery did not come cheap going by the $10,000 (Sh1 million) receipts she posted on her Instagram.

Kalekye, a popular radio and TV personality, struggled with weight issues for a long time until she decided it was time for a new look. The secret to her leaner physique, she later confessed, was liposuction.

She would later claim that she did not like how she looked after going down a few dress sizes. "After I lost the weight, there was the whole plus-size community who came at me-Oh, you are cheating us, you have left us. Also, it was a personal decision. All I can say is be happy in your skin," she said.


There are patients who 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 a number of 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.

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

Doctors extracted belly fat and transferred it to her thighs and buttocks. The loose flesh on her arms was tightened and she also got Botox injections for the wrinkles on her face.

"Some of these results cannot be achieved through exercising or dieting. If you want that killer look, especially if you want to impress after you reach a given age, you have to dig deeper to look the part. We all need that upkeeps,” she says.  

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