Go to contents

Plastic surgery factories need surgery

Posted March. 14, 2014 00:58,   


Here is a country that mandates plastic surgery to its people. Children have to undergo cosmetic surgery procedures in the world of “Pretty” when they turn 16. Eyes are cut and reflective implants are inserted under the iris. Bodies are cut open to implant plastics for a beautiful body shape. Teeth are replaced with ceramics and faces are trimmed. Of course, the country does not exist. It is a country in “Uglies,” a science fiction novel written by Scott Westerfeld.

The fiction is a story about girls’ desire for beauty and the price that they have to pay, but it also warns of lookism. While reading the novel, I thought if the country ever exists, it would be Korea. According to the International Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the U.S. tops in the world by the number of surgery procedures. But Korea is the top by the per-capital plastic surgery procedures. Sixteen out of 1,000 Koreans undergo plastic surgery.

When you walk around streets in Gangnam district, you will find why Korea is called the country of plastic surgery. Every other building has a sign of a plastic surgery clinic, and some plastic surgery clinics use a whole building. Statistics show that Gangnam has 366 plastic surgery clinics and it is estimated that more than 1,000 plastic surgeons work in Gangnam, if part-time surgeons are included. Some analysts say Korea accounts for 25 percent of the global plastic surgery market.

“I was a technician at a plastic surgery factory,” a surgeon who worked at a clinic in Gangnam confessed. He said plastic surgeons operate on patients with a timer. For example, 30 minutes for a double-fold surgery procedure and one hour for epicantho plasty and latercantho plasty. The hours of surgery procedures per surgeon is reported to the owner of the clinic. Time is money for a plastic surgery factory like an assembly line with a conveyer belt. It is appalling that famous surgeons are replaced with other surgeons while the patient is under anesthesia. When a factory runs faster, it produces more defective products. Like this, more and more patients die during plastic surgery procedures as surgeons seek money. The speed war ignoring safety leads to death. Plastic surgery factories neglecting medical ethics should undergo surgery.

Editorial Writer Chung Sung-hee (shchung@donga.com)