"Patients’ needs are very diverse when it comes to cosmetic procedures," says Dr Ahmed Salman, clinical director of Auralia, the cosmetic and surgical weight loss clinic based in Dublin, Limerick and Kilkenny. While 85 per cent of his patients are female, there are a growing number of men seeking cosmetic procedures.
Auralia Private Hospital is Ireland’s leading cosmetic and surgical weight loss private clinic. It is Ireland's longest established hospital of its kind and the only one with full international accreditation leading to the highest international standards.
It provides a range of cosmetic treatments, from Botox and fillers to full surgeries, including facelifts, liposuction, breast augmentation and tummy tucks, as well as smaller procedures such as tattoo removals and moles.
Auralia is the only clinic with two fully-serviced operating theatre facilities in-house. Most surgeries are carried out in one day.
The most popular procedures are breast augmentation and liposuction for women and breast reduction for men. The skill of the surgeons, scale of experience and the exceptionally high standards ensure consistent success, according to Dr Salman.
When it comes to choosing a clinic, Dr Salman advises patients to be questioning, do their research and be prepared to walk away if they feel unsure. For example, going abroad may seem in some cases an alternative option but if things go wrong, the area of responsibility of correction can be a difficult path to achieve.
Breast augmentation is Dr Salman's speciality and, he says, he has conducted more procedures than any other surgeon in Ireland, an important consideration for anyone setting out to choose a surgeon.
Cosmetic surgery can be life changing and it is vitally important to be able to talk through your concerns and aspirations with the surgeon and challenge him on every aspect.
Auralia offers free consultations with Dr Salman to ensure that patients can fully understand procedures, implications and benefits.
A surgeon needs to be available at the end of the phone, if something goes wrong or concerns are expressed. Dr Salman gives all his patients his private mobile number in the event of any concerns. You need a surgeon who is also prepared to say no, if a procedure would have a negative effect. The patient always comes first.
Botox and fillers are on the increase as people seek out more moderate cosmetic procedures, he explains. They are medical procedures and, as such, require medical skill and training to do the job correctly and safely. Dr Salman urges people seeking Botox and fillers to always check out the credentials and qualifications of those seeking to administer such services outside a clinical environment.
Another major part of Auralia’s business is bariatric or weight-loss surgery. Interest in this area is rising rapidly due to the rise in obesity across the population. "Obesity is not only about looks," says Salman. "It has a huge impact on a person’s quality of life and family function. It’s a medical health issue."
"At Auralia, we are the leading private hospital in bariatric surgery and offer gastric band and balloon programmes. The average waiting time for bariatric surgery in Ireland is 3.3 years. With Auralia it is from four to five weeks, including a free consultation and medical work up. All Auralia patients are enrolled in a range of aftercare programmes. Additionally, Auralia offer very keen financial facilities, suiting every pocket, allowing access to all," says Salman.
Auralia has invested €1 million into a new expansion that will include 18 new beds and increased staff, including an experienced team of surgeons, to care for bariatric patients. The expansion will bring new procedures to care for super-obese patients, including gastric sleeve and bypasses.
"There is a cultural shift in how we accept and perceive a need to enhance our looks and bodies. If you have a genuine issue that makes you unhappy it’s fixable - if it is the right thing to do," says Salman.
"Most people who come to me are ordinary people, shy about their unhappiness regarding a certain aspect and I am delighted to be able to assist them on their journey."