Korean Plastic Surgery – A New Booming Industry
According to a popular Korean newspaper, the Korea Herald, 20% of all Korean women have had at least one plastic surgery. Many of those women claim they had the surgery in order to improve their chances of getting a job. The unemployment rate is high there, with over 400,000 young Koreans without a job. They often claim that their looks hold them back, so they have plastic surgery to improve their looks just as they would take on volunteer work to improve their resumes. Many Korean firms require applicants to submit photographs, and plastic surgery clinics in Korea use this as a marketing tool. They advertise their services as giving patients a competitive edge in the job market.
Millions of Surgeries
The most popular procedure among Koreans is eyelid surgery in which surgeons create a more pronounced eyelid. Although it is more popular among women, men are not lost on the art. Nose jobs rank second there; individuals have surgeries to slim the bridges of their noses and make the ends smaller. Because of this, South Korea ranks #4 among countries that perform the most plastic surgeries per year, and it is the “World’s Plastic Surgery Capital.” Koreans who undergo surgeries and later land jobs believe that their appearance is part of their success.
Fostering Surgical Skills
Many countries with a plastic surgery tourism industry fail to thrive, often because the surgeons have very little training and produce less-than-acceptable results. This is not the case in South Korea, where the demand for plastic surgery actually fosters the surgeons’ skills. South Korean surgeons understand the importance of a job well done simply because appearance is so important in the local economy and workforce. As such, people in the US, Canada, Europe, and even other parts of Asia flock to Korea for the surgeries they want.
Although the vast majority of the tourists who visit South Korea for plastic surgery are beyond thrilled with the results, they say that their visits did not come without problems. For example, some people looked so different following surgery that they could not get back through customs to get home. Because of this, Korean hospitals and clinics now take “before-and-after” photos of their patients and issue certificates to individuals so they can prove their identities. Several years ago in 2009, more than 20 Chinese women fought tooth and nail to return to China after their surgeries.
With so much stigma surrounding surgical vacations and the dangers, more people than ever are headed to South Korea for the procedures they want. This time, though, it is not about saving money. It is about putting their appearances in the hands of some of the world’s most talented surgeons.