A 2010 study by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reveals that affluent South Korea claims the highest number of per capita plastic surgery procedures in the world. An estimated one in five women in the capital of Seoul have had some sort of surgical modification, the most common cosmetic procedures being blepharoplasty (double eyelid surgery), rhinoplasty and facial liposuction.
The overall goal of these surgeries for both men and women is to achieve the more desirable westernized look. By far the most in-demand procedure is double eyelid surgery, with more than 44,000 performed in 2010. This fairly simple surgery reduces excess skin in the upper eyelid, making the eye look larger and more westernized. Facial liposuction and jawbone shaving are employed to reshape the face from round to more oval, while the addition of a bridge to the nose makes it appear narrower and more westernized.
Several possible reasons for South Korea’s nip/tuck explosion have been suggested. Many of the most popular celebrities, from music and rock stars to beauty queens, have had enhancement of some sort, and patients often come to the plastic surgeon’s office with photos of their favorite stars. Nose, eye and chin modifications erase the traditional cast of the Asian face and and create a more Caucasian appearance. South Korea’s overall affluence means many can afford to undergo the knife, and the high value placed on beauty may also play a role in the explosion of cosmetic surgery.
Young people are providing a vast pool of potential patients for Seoul’s plastic surgeons. Girls as young as twelve are led to believe that they will not be beautiful or get ahead in their appearance-obsessed society unless they have high-profile noses, big eyes and slender cheek and jaw bones, and many view it as a simple enhancement leading to greater self-esteem. Many websites have sprung up offering advice on the best ways to achieve the desirable “small face” appearance.
Aggressive marketing by plastic surgeons is commonplace, with many offering such incentives as mother and daughter surgery packages or two procedures for the price of one. Facial modification has nearly become a rite of passage, with many high school girls getting procedures after sitting for their college entrance exams. Unfortunately, some South Korean plastic surgeons have been accused of highlighting only the positive sides of the surgeries and downplaying the negatives. Reports have even been received of patients signing consent forms while already on the operating table.
Increasing numbers of medical tourists are pouring in from other Asian countries, particularly China, seeking the services of Seoul’s busy hordes of plastic surgeons. Chinese patients present a huge growth market, with many desiring modification of large cheekbones, big mandible angles and low profile noses. Like the South Koreans, they are seeking the western ideal, believing the change in appearance will be well worth the improvement in confidence and chance for a better job and more attractive mate.
About Colorado Springs, CO, Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Greg Liebscher
If you live in the Colorado Springs area and would like to talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon in Colorado Springs about your plastic surgery procedure, please contact Dr. Greg Liebscher by calling 719-634-2503.