According to a survey with teenagers conducted by a cosmetics company in 2015, 48% of teens said they wanted to have cosmetic surgery, and 15% of them had already had cosmetic surgery. Also, interests in plastic surgery and the rate of getting plastic surgery are increasing every year. During the college entrance exam season, it's common to see fliers on the streets that offer discounts on plastic surgery. Thus you can guess that the survey results are natural. Walking around Gangnam and Apgujung-dong, you will easily notice large-scale plastic surgeries everywhere. It is said that this familiar image of plastic surgery clinics all over South Korea is unusual in the rest of the world. Consequently, the Republic of Korea has won the title of the Republic of plastic surgery. Now let's find out how it happened, whether plastic surgery is safe, and what is the situation in other countries.
The Reason for Becoming the Republic of Plastic Surgery
1. Quality and recognition of plastic surgery
The quality of plastic surgery in South Korea is very high, which can be easily guessed because some foreigners who’ve had plastic surgery in South Korea get caught by airport security on their way back home because the officers can’t match the person with the photo on his or her passport. Plastic surgery has been reborn as part of beauty that no longer needs to be hidden, and people's perceptions have changed. In South Korea, plastic surgery is becoming a tool to help you lead a dignified and confident life. People who have plastic surgery are not treated like an android but are recognized as people who know how to take care of themselves. As there is a growing perception that appearance is a strength, "plastic surgery for employment" has become common, and college students, both male and female, are heading to plastic surgery clinics.
2. Number and size of plastic surgery
According to the International Society of Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), in 2015, there were 440,000 plastic surgeries in South Korea. The number of plastic surgery cases is the 4th in the world. However, as a percentage of the population, 131 cases of plastic surgery in 2011 ranked first. South Korea is overwhelmingly No.1 compared with Italy which ranked second with 11 cases.
According to ISAPS, the global plastic surgery market in 2011 was worth around $20 billion (21 trillion won). Among them, the South Korean market is worth $ 4.5 billion (5 trillion won), accounting for one-quarter of the world market. High demand naturally leads to high supplies. In 2017, South Korea also ranked fifth in the number of plastic surgeons. The U.S (6800) ranked top, followed by Brazil (5,500), China (2,800), Japan (2,663), and South Korea (2,330). South Korea accounts for 5.4 percent of the world's plastic surgeons, which is by no means a small percentage considering the country's population is smaller than that of the top other countries.
3. Advertisements for plastic surgery clinics
There are many advertisements for plastic surgery clinics on buses and subways. The subway entrances, even the passenger cars, are overflowing with plastic surgery clinic billboards. In particular, passenger cars on line 2, line 3, and the Bundang line passing through Gangnam are covered with plastic surgeries advertisements. Competition among them is also fierce as plastic surgery clinics flock to Gangnam. In some cases, rival hospitals slander popular hospitals online and offline, and engage in fierce publicity campaigns to attract customers. In addition, there have been a lot of YouTube plastic surgery advertisements these days. The world's largest video platform, youtube, is controversial because plastic surgery advertisements are distributed without sanctions. These advertisements overemphasize the merits of plastic surgery without mentioning any side effects, making us think of plastic surgery as a risk-free operation.
Is plastic surgery safe?
1. Side effects and dissatisfaction that increase every year
The side effects of plastic surgery are increasing every year. The number tripled in four years with 42 in 2008 and 130 in 2012. Actual consumer satisfaction is not so high compared to the huge growth of the molding market in the blink of an eye. According to the Korea Consumer Agency's survey of 1,000 people who had cosmetic surgery and procedures for the past three years, 32.3 percent of the respondents said they experienced dissatisfaction after cosmetic surgery. From 2011 to September this year, the number of plastic surgery consultations received at the consumer counseling center reached 16,354. Among the counseling, 69.5 percent (1,367 cases) were dissatisfied with the results of plastic surgery, 22.1 percent (3,612 cases) complained about the cancellation and termination of the contracts, and 3.2 percent (526 cases) complained about unfair conducts at hospitals, such as requests for cash payments.
2. Illegal surrogate surgery
Medical Association believes that there have been about 100,000 surrogate surgeries over the past six years (2008-2014). Surrogate surgery began to flourish in 2008 when the advertising regulations for plastic surgery clinics were lifted. The reason for this is that when a famous doctor advertises that he has performed surgery, a lot of people are flocking to him. However, because a small number of famous doctors cannot handle many people's surgeries, they do surrogate surgeries. The reason why surrogate surgery could continue so far is due to the lack of institutional monitoring. As the issue of damage to proxy surgery flared up, the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced related measures, but questions remain over their effectiveness. This is because the core measures like the real name system of the operating room and voluntary installation of CCTV are only recommended levels. It is also difficult to judge whether the patient is injured or not. In plastic surgery clinics, it is known that in order to hide the surrogate surgery, clinics often dispense eyeglasses that is similar to that of the head doctor, or sleep anesthesia is frequently performed on patients who need only local anesthesia. Korean medical dispute mediation agency says that while requests for arbitration of plastic surgery are continuously received, there are few questions of surrogate surgery. This is because there is a lack of evidence and it is difficult to realize that they are a victim of surrogate surgery.
Regulation of plastic surgery advertising in Japan
‘Before and after photography’ is one of the most commonly used marketing information for plastic surgeries and beauty companies. In Japan, however, a policy was recently decided to ban such images from being published on medical institutions sites through a revised medical law in June 2017. The policy was implemented for the safety of patients, as there are cases where actual results may be processed and modified to be used in ‘before and after photography’. It means that it will prevent you from doing plastic surgery, deceived by facial tuning like photoshop. In addition, for the regulation objects Japan has included television commercials, magazine ads and signboards as well as the websites of medical institutions.
Insufficient Movement in South Korea
Hosted by the fair trade commission and organized by the green consumer network in Korea, a forum "Advertise Plastic Surgery, is it a blind spot in regulations?" was held in 2014 at the customer support office of the National Health Insurance Service. There were discussions on the name of signboards of medical institutions, strengthening regulations on outdoor advertisements, and the need to regulate online cafe blog ads. But it was nothing more than a free-talking forum. There are no regulations on plastic surgery that are implemented for the safety of consumers.
The level of plastic surgery in South Korea is very high and it is recognized worldwide. However, there are problems such as poor satisfaction, an increased number of side effects, and illegal surrogate surgery, even though South Korea is the first class in plastic surgery in the world. In addition, it is important to improve our light perception of plastic surgery. Plastic surgery is not a mild surgery for you to have merely for fashion. You might have to deal with a serious risk from it. When you get plastic surgery, you need to consider carefully whether you really want it, you know about the side effects, you make an impulsive decision because of the advertisement, or you’re not going to regret it. < Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >