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As Plastic Surgery Market Expands, East, West Differences Arise

As Plastic Surgery Market Expands, East, West Differences Arise

Posted October. 22, 2005 10:29,   


As women are increasingly showing interest in their appearance, the global plastic surgery market is showing steady growth.

According to American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) statistics, the U.S. plastic surgery market is the world’s largest. The industry’s market volume reached 12 trillion won late last year and is growing by an average of seven percent annually.

China’s plastic surgery market posts an average annual growth rate of 20 percent, with people in the high income bracket in big cities taking the lead in spreading plastic surgery fever since 2000. The size of Korea’s market is estimated at three to four trillion won.

There is no difference between the East and the West in wanting a beautiful appearance and a slim body shape. As demonstrated in the case of White and Zhang, however, Westerners mainly try to find their “young self” through plastic surgery, while their Eastern counterparts pursue a “new me,” ditching “original me.”

I Want to Go Back to the Past-

The ASPS said that 9.2 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were performed in 2004.

Botox injection was the most popular among all kinds of cosmetic medical procedures, with three million patients (32.6 percent) receiving it. Among surgeries, suction lipectomy topped the list with 325,000 patients.

This is interpreted as attempts to recover one’s young and slim appearance of the past because botox or suction lipectomy does not greatly change the contour of one’s face and body compared to other cosmetic procedures.

Middle-aged people in their 40s or older were dominant among all age groups. Those in their 20s and younger accounted for only two percent.

Searching For a New Me-

Plastic surgeries in the East are mostly facial. Most patients are young women, and some who undergo cosmetic surgery are even at a very young age.

China Daily, China’s government-run English newspaper, reported that plastic surgery is so popular that young parents in the country go so far as to have their three-year-old children get a double-eyelids operation or a nose job.

According to the research of those who underwent plastic surgery by a Korean cosmetic company (Amore Pacific) in August, the largest number (39 percent) had a double-eyelids operation followed by a nose job (six percent). 70 percent of them were in their 20s.

Dr. Lee Min-gu of Seoul Plastic Surgery who has a presence in Tianjin, China, said, “Double-eyelids operations, nose jobs and facial contour operations are popular in the East. This is interpreted as an attempt to create a ‘new me’ that didn’t exist until now.” The models for a new me are “glamorous” Western women.

Meanwhile, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong are recently showing increasingly similar patterns of plastic surgeries due to the influence of the Korean wave.

The Internet version of The Wall Street Journal said on October 20 that the trend of Asian women flocking to Seoul to give their faces renewed beauty became popular throughout Asia due to the Korean wave.