Free cosmetic breast surgery at govt hospital

The world of cosmetic surgery, particularly breast reduction or augmentation, will no longer be limited to celebrities and the wealthy in Tamil Nadu.

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CHENNAI: The world of cosmetic surgery, particularly breast reduction or augmentation, will no longer be limited to celebrities and the wealthy in Tamil Nadu.

The state health department on Wednesday launched a free cosmetic surgery clinic at Government Stanley Medical College and Hospital. “Why should beauty treatment not be available to the poor,” asked health minister C Vijaya Baskar. “If we don’t offer they may opt for dangerous methods or take huge loans for it,” he said.

Although funds for the surgeries will come from the department for now, officials will be talking to the state health insurance provider, United India, to cover such procedures too for social reasons, he said.

In the last few months, many women had come to the hospital for breast reconstruction. “We have been doing surgeries to reconstruct entire breasts or a part for cancer victims. Now, we plan to do surgeries for those who want to increase or reduce their breast size,” said head of plastic surgery Dr V Ramadevi. In some cases, women with large breasts had problems including shoulder pain, rashes and fungal infections, but many others wanted surgeries to boost their confidence, she said.

‘Govt’s scheme sounds populist, but it is not an ideal public health programme’

Head of plastic surgery at Government Stanley Medical College and Hospital, Dr V Ramadevi, said, “As a plastic surgeon I don’t judge women when they seek surgery. If they are fit I recommend.”

The plastic surgery department will register patients for these surgeries on Mondays. Women will have to undergo basic tests before doctors decide the operation they would require. “There is one sub-speciality we will focus on each day of the week,” she said.

Cleft lip surgeries for children will be on Tuesdays followed by those for advanced wound care, hand transplant and injury management.

Several senior public health experts said the government would be wasting funds offering beauty care. “The scheme sounds populist, but it is not an ideal public health programme. State funds are required for emerging non communicable diseases and communicable diseases,” said former public health director Dr S Elango. “It is sad that we are now focusing on beauty instead of life-saving surgeries.”

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