Dr Chris Snijman's Blog

Plastic surgeons are not miracle workers..

Do research before going under the knife.

It’s no secret that we live in a beauty-obsessed society, with millions of people aspiring to look like the celebrities they see splashed across magazines. While some are quite content with their lumps and bumps, others go to extreme lengths in their quest for beauty.


A woman in Korea made headlines when she injected cooking oil onto her face when doctors refused to give her any more plastic surgery. More recently, another woman from Argentina reportedly died after injecting petroleum jelly into her breasts in an effort to make her chest bigger.

While these stories may seem shocking, plastic surgery has become the number one solution for people who would like to alter their looks. Popular in America and Europe, the plastic surgery craze is only steadily catching on and becoming popular among black people, according to Dr Chris Snyman, a qualified plastic surgeon from MediClinic in Morningside, Johannesburg, who is also the national secretary of the Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons of Southern Africa.

Cosmetic surgery has actually become very popular among the coloured community. In fact, about 30% of my client base is black.

Dr Chris Snijman

An affluent lifestyle is one of the reasons for the spike in plastic surgery, according to Snyman.

“For most people who are done with school, they got the job, the lavish house and the cars, it’s like ‘what now?’, which is the reason they start working on improving their looks and decide to come into my office,” he says.

Could you perhaps be one of the people considering cosmetic surgery? We asked Snyman to take us through how plastic surgery actually works and what one needs to consider before deciding to undergo the cut.


The first step is to do your research, according to Snyman.

“Do not go online to research a particular plastic surgeon, as they could easily sing their own praises on their websites.

Do give the Health Professionals Council of South Africa a call first to find out if the surgeon you are consulting is registered and legit, but most importantly, what claims they have against them.

The number of grievances against a particular surgeon will let you know if you will be the next one to lay a complaint or not.

From the surgeon’s perspective, they also have certain procedures they follow before they operate on you, and this includes making the following considerations:


Snyman says he does not operate on clients with pre-existing health conditions.

“Clients who have high blood pressure or diabetes, for example, are extremely high-risk and not eligible to undergo cosmetic procedures. Be careful of surgeons who are aware of your pre-existing condition yet proceed with the operation,” says Snyman.


These, according to Snyman, are clients who see flaws where there are none.

“Someone would come in complaining about how horrendous their nose or breasts are, when in fact they are perfect. These are clients we prefer not to work with as their problem is not physical but perhaps psychological.”


Plastic surgeons are not miracle workers

Do you want to look exactly like Nicki Minaj, head to toe?

Snyman says that is an example of an unreasonable expectation and makes you not suitable for surgery.

“Plastic surgeons are not miracle workers,” he stresses.

“Do not consider plastic surgery if you have an idealistic expectation of what the outcome will be. Do not have a vision of exactly how you want to look like because the outcome may not be it.”


While most people think one consultation with a plastic surgeon and detailing what you want will suffice, Snyman says the truth is slightly different. “Any plastic surgeon worth their salt will not operate on you after just one consultation. We do not paint a picture of the yellow brick road for our clients, with promises of everything going perfectly.

“We tell them about the pain. We tell them exactly what will be removed and what could potentially go wrong. This is done to suss out who is undergoing surgery for the right reasons and who is not.”


“Just like any other operation, there are risks involved. And one should go into it fully aware of them,” says Snyman.

Legendary comedian Joan Rivers is an example that people could die while on the operating table.


The surgeon says one should be aware of normal complications and when to press the panic button.

“Swelling and scarring are inevitable with any cosmetic procedure.

“One should however ring the alarm when any bleeding of any kind occurs, or tearing of the skin.

“Extreme pain is not normal as well and is an indication of an anomaly,” Snyman says.

By Karabo Disetlhe | Aug 08, 2015 | The Sowetan Live