Indian Hospitals Offer Free Breast Reconstruction
In India’s state Chennai, breast cosmetic surgery is now offered for free, additional to that previously being the case for cancer patients.
“Why should beauty treatment not be available for the poor? ” asked Dr. V Ramadevi, head of the plastic surgery department. She suggested that the lesser wealthy should also be entitled to feel better about themselves, touching on the psychological benefits this service provides.
Boosting confidence for both women and men, cosmetic alterations such as breast reduction/enlargement have shown to vastly aid the patients.
“There is a psychological benefit. Many girls who have larger breasts don’t like to go out. There is no reason this surgery should be restricted from the poor,” commented Dr. V Ramadevi.
She specified, however, that all patients must be scrupulously examined by a medical team prior to the decision of carrying out the surgery.
"We encourage them to talk about their problems. We explain to them in detail about changes in their breasts after the surgery," she continued, placing emphasis on the patient’s psychological state and health.
The surgery is also performed on those experiencing back problems or other health related conditions.
Cosmetic surgeries have been gradually rising in popularity in parallel to Indians’ increase in wealth, with approximately 420,000 procedures performed in 2016, in contrast to an average number of 390,000 six years prior.
According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, about 33,000 breast augmentation surgeries were reportedly carried out in 2016 in India, the most recent year of update, vis-a-vis the 50,600 procedures in 2010.
Among men the figure has especially grown, with 25,640 seeking breast reduction in 2016, a dramatic increase of 11,000 extra surgeries since 2010.
Average breast reconstruction operations may cost over 80,000 Indian rupees (equivalent to $1,233) in private hospital institutions.
Chennai’s hospital’s head of plastic surgery, Dr V Rama Devi, told the BBC this latest medical update will entail three different clinical alternatives: cancer patient breast reconstruction, augmentation for those with small breasts, and breast reduction for those with large breasts.
The controversial argument of whether beauty is or is not a luxury for the wealthier class is disapprovingly met by some. Arguing that this strategy is costly and that, as such, these funds ought to be oriented towards life-saving medical aid instead.
“While this is a welcome step for those women who have got their breasts removed or damaged due to cancer, fire, or any other accidents, the same for pure cosmetic purpose in a govt hospital is a misplaced priority at the taxpayers' liability,” commented Sridhar Renon through her Twitter account.
Despite India having a set healthcare system, its availability across different castes is infamously scarce.
As shown in a 2016 study, "large health disparities between states, between rural and urban populations, and across social classes persist. A large proportion of the population is impoverished because of high out-of-pocket health-care expenditures and suffers the adverse consequences of poor quality of care."