Bearing the scars of the quest for beauty

The trial of a cosmetic specialist accused of causing grave harm to the health of a well-known Russian TV hostess is set to start. In 2004, Gelena Rymarenko allegedly injected an unidentified substance into Oksana Pushkina's face during a beauty treatment

In Russia cosmetic surgery is becoming more common and so are the unwanted consequences. Hollywood makes it look like a good idea. Doctors make it seem easy. With no proper regulations for plastic surgery in Russia the chances of getting any kind of compensation for malpractice is almost impossible.

Tamara will most probably limp for the rest of her life after she suffered complications in her legs during a facelift operation.

“You expect doctors to help you and then if something goes wrong to fix it,” said Tamara Fyodorova.   

Tanya did get all of her money back after two breast augmentations went wrong. She says the money was returned only because the Russian TV channel Domashny invited her to take part in a beauty show and paid for half the operation.

“The TV channel basically offered me another operation, but for the cheapest possible price,” she says.

Tanya is now looking for a doctor she can trust to perform a third operation. Like Tamara, Tanya has found assistance in the form of Andrey Fromov, who helps patients that have fallen foul of a plastic surgeon's scalpel.

“My work is difficult. The number of lawyers taking plastic surgery cases is growing and they win about 60% of the time. The problem is that most courts don’t accept these cases and of course there are no regulations or laws. That makes it very difficult to judge a case,” says Mr Fromov, from the Society for Rights of Plastic Surgery Patients.

Doctor Nikolay Milanov, who regularly performs plastic and reconstructive surgery, says the market is growing in Russia and the only way it will improve is if the government begins to regulate procedures.

“You can have almost any plastic surgery performed successfully in Russia, but of course one needs to be cautious as with any operation. However the future of this type of surgery in Russia depends on whether the government imposes strict laws on its practice and ensure those who violate them face the consequences,” he notes.