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College test takers lured to plastic surgery via discounts

College test takers lured to plastic surgery via discounts

Posted November. 09, 2012 01:38,   


Until the College Scholastic Aptitude Test, exam takers had to keep studying no matter how much they wanted to play or sleep. They came home late at night exhausted with heavy school bags filled with books.

They were patient because they had a hope, and that hope was to be a college student whose appearance has grown much cooler.

A 18-year-old girl asked her maternal aunt last month to pay for her plastic surgery after taking the college exam instead of buying her a new outfit that her aunt had promised. The girl had seen an ad for a plastic surgery clinic offering a discount for college test takers under the slogan, “You can be a beauty queen in college.”

Students who took the college entrance test this year are the targets of ads for plastic surgery clinics, just like in any other year, because certain clinics are trying to lure them with a variety of offers and discounts. “Sooneung (scholastic aptitude) seonghyeong (plastic surgery)” is a term in Korea referring to getting plastic surgery right after taking the exam.

Certain clinics say they are fully booked and unable to take more reservations. One in Seoul`s posh district of Gangnam told The Dong-A Ilbo Wednesday that its schedule for eyelid and nose surgery had been fully booked a month before the test, adding the waiting list to get served is at least one month. Three other clinics said those who want plastic surgery in the afternoon should wait more than one month because many students come for procedures after school.

A clinic in Gangnam’s Nonhyeon-dong neighborhood said, “Simple surgeries for eyelids or nose are the most popular. You get an additional discount if you come with a friend...We give the same discounts on other more serious surgeries such as breast enlargement, jaw line contouring or liposuction.”

Experts warn, however, that getting blinded by discounts or other offers from such clinics could lead to negative side effects. The cost for plastic surgery varies because health insurance does not cover procedures for cosmetic purposes. Clinics that offer lower prices tend to take in more patients and thus people are pushed to make quick decisions after a short discussion with a doctor.

According to the Korea Consumer Agency, the number of counseling sessions on the side effects of cosmetic surgery jumped to 4,043 in 2011 from 2,948 in 2010. As of last month, the figure was 3,120. “There are beauty clinics that hire surgeons who are not specialists or even non-doctors who acquired cosmetic surgical skills... People must decide on cosmetic surgery after sufficient counseling with specialists, and surgery must be limited to those who absolutely need it,” said the consumer watchdog.