The dark side of cosmetic surgery

Quebecers who pay thousands of dollars privately for cosmetic surgery are seeing their dream turn into a nightmare, sometimes having to undergo multiple costly surgeries to repair the damage.

• Also read: Difficult to win in court for “botched” surgery

“Cosmetic surgery can be a nightmare,” admits Dr. Joseph Bou-Merhi, plastic surgeon practicing privately in Verdun. If you’ve been put under the knife two, three, four times, if it doesn’t work, it’s going to be exhausting for the pocket and for the mind! It’s like a nightmare that never ends! »

For years, doctors have advised Quebecers against going abroad for aesthetic medicine, particularly because medical standards there are not as strict and the risks of surgery can be significant.

But although clients here pay dearly for cosmetic surgery (often more than $15,000), some experience complications from the surgery or end up with surgery that’s utterly botched, found The newspaper by following discussion groups on social networks.


This woman, in her 40s, is believed to have died last September, weeks after contracting an infection following cosmetic surgery.  Here is one of the postoperative scars.

Photograph of the Journal de Montreal, Chantal Poirier

This woman, in her 40s, is believed to have died last September, weeks after contracting an infection following cosmetic surgery. Here is one of the postoperative scars.

“It’s a Jungle”

“When things go well, things go well. But there is no one else to take care of you,” remarked one patient who nearly died.

Examples of problems: asymmetrical breasts or sagging implants, noticeable scars, pain or loss of feeling. In the worst cases, patients develop serious infections and need to be hospitalized. Injecting fillers can also be risky.

“Right now it’s a jungle. You have to be informed,” warns Stéphanie Léonard, a psychologist specializing in body image issues.


Many clients in reflection seek advice on social media, relying on other clients to see more clearly (which surgeons to choose and which to avoid). that protocol found that some doctors in Quebec have a very bad reputation.

During postoperative follow-up, patients also indicated that they were unable to reach their surgeon to correct an error or had to pay again. Others lost their trust and preferred to look elsewhere. Get paid.

that protocol presents several testimonials from women who have experienced horror after cosmetic surgery. All testify anonymously, either because they are ashamed, are in postoperative follow-up care, or fear legal reprisals.

In addition, Quebec surgeons devote a third of their practice to repairing failed surgeries.

When money leads

“The day a plastic surgeon puts his wallet first before his patient’s well-being, he’s no longer a doctor,” says Dr. Perry Gdalevitch, a specialist in this area.

Normally, all the risks of the operation must be well explained. However, many customers are misinformed and rush to sign the contract after a few minutes.

“Many are good salespeople. They don’t insist too much on the side effects, one tends to minimize them. But the truth is that there can always be complications,” says Me Jean-François Leroux, health specialist.

Cosmetic surgery in Quebec has increased by at least 20% since the pandemic, the Association of Specialists in Plastic and Aesthetic Surgeons of Quebec estimates. According to President Dr. According to Eric Bensimon, the majority of clients are satisfied with the result and it is the dissatisfied “who speak the loudest”.

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