The unstoppable plastic surgery craze
Girls who get into their chosen college often ask their parents to allow them to have plastic surgery as a reward for their hard work. Some girls get makeovers so complete that even their friends do not recognize them at their graduation ceremony.
Society has fundamentally encouraged the strong demand for plastic surgery among young people. Parents are concerned not only because of the cost but also because of the risk.
Consider the case of a high-ranking government official whose daughter was admitted to a prestigious college. The daughter had plastic surgery, though it was a necessary procedure and not for cosmetic purposes. After the surgery, she passed away.
If you or a loved one does have plastic surgery, you should be very careful when choosing a doctor. Because of the contradictions in medical laws, it is hard to distinguish the specialists who majored in plastic surgery from other surgeons.
There are 1,400 plastic surgery specialists in Korea, but there are three times more doctors who perform plastic surgery without having majored in the field. If the doctor’s office says “Dr. A’s Plastic Surgery Clinic,” it means the doctor is a specialist. If it says “Dr. A’s Clinic, Plastic Surgery,” the doctor probably majored in another speciality but performs plastic surgery. It is very hard for unsuspecting patients to distinguish the subtle difference.
Another problem with the plastic surgery industry is that major clinics spend an excessive amount of money on marketing and promotion. According to one plastic surgeon, one clinic had performed surgeries on an actress and offered her 350 million won ($310,000) to talk about her experience. Expenses like that translate into higher prices for regular patients.
Meanwhile, the competition between plastic surgery facilities is so fierce that some clinics in the posh Gangnam area in southern Seoul are ridden with debt. Some doctors address that problem by obtaining a temporary license and moving to China because they can charge twice as much as Chinese doctors can.
As for myself, I wouldn’t dare sign up for plastic surgery, since it would cost me a fortune. Maybe I’m lucky that no one pays much attention to an old journalist like me.
*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
By Noh Jae-hyun