Under the Veil, Plastic Surgery Soars in Saudi Arabia

Clerics, surgeons say Islam approves certain procedures
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 3, 2009 12:47 PM CDT
A young woman has her face treated with lightening creams by a doctor at a clinic in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, July 8, 2009.    (Hassan Ammar)
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(Newser) – Does Islam frown on nose jobs or breast implants? Three years ago, clerics and surgeons said certain procedures were sanctioned. The results may not see much light of day in a kingdom where women cover up from head to toe, yet cosmetic surgery is booming. Plastic surgery centers were rare 10 years ago—now there are 35 in Riyadh.

Meeting to discuss the Islamic tenet against tampering with God's creation, clergymen and plastic surgeons ruled that it's halal (sanctioned) to augment unusually small breasts, fix features that are causing a person grief, or reverse damage from an accident. But undergoing an unsafe procedure or changing the shape of a "perfect nose" just to resemble a singer or actress is haram (forbidden). Liposuction, breast augmentations and nose jobs are the most popular procedures among women, while men go for hair implants and nose jobs.