Plastic Surgery Ads Grow Increasingly and so do Side Effects

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This week, I decided to focus on the advertising of plastic surgery in Korea. The number of plastic surgery advertisements has climbed steadily over the past decade, and currently are everywhere: all over the internet, magazines, on the sides of buses and subway cars, and even added to vocal announcements, which announce the next subway stop. These cosmetic surgery advertisements, mostly scattered around the main parts of Seoul, are raising issues of whether the plastic surgery clinics portrayed in these ads are, in fact, legitimate.

The number of over-exaggerated plastic surgery ads in the online community has grown rapidly. These ads portray unrealistic before and after pictures, which give hope to people that they too can become just as beautiful. Photoshop is used to sharpen the chin, and brighten the eyes to create a more drastic after photo than in real life.  As I mentioned in class before, one of the most popular surgeries these days is the jaw configuration surgery and you’ll see before-and-after photographs of people who have undergone this surgery almost daily. Ironically enough, the same exaggerated advertisements discussed here border the online articles that discuss the issue as a problem. Furthermore, the disparity or change between the before and after photographs is unrealistic. And yet, of all these plastic surgery clinics that claim to change the lives of women, only 99 clinics are led by legitimate surgeons with a medical degree in plastic surgery, according to Naver News.

Every year the number of people undergoing plastic surgery is growing and so are the side effects from unprofessional plastic surgery. According to Newsen.com, in 2009, there were 2,011 cases centered on side effects, 2,949 cases in 2010, and 4,043 cases in 2011, almost double the cases within one year. However, a majority of these cases are left unresolved. In 2009 only 71 cases were brought to court, 71 cases in 2010 and only 78 cases until November 2011. Moreover, Medical Today states that 47% of the plastic surgery clinicians in Korea do not sign contracts with their patients before undergoing life-changing surgeries and do not go over the possible side effects that may arise from certain procedures with their patients. The surgeons are too focused on satisfying the customer that they do not mention the possible side effects that may occur.

More and more women are spending large sums of money on risky plastic surgery. A 25-year-old woman, who sought a plastic surgeon to undergo the double eyelid surgery, ended up enduring jaw configuration surgery and braces, which altogether cost 19,324 dollars total. Though she originally wanted to undergo only the double eyelid surgery, she claimed that she was convinced to fix other places to make herself more beautiful. She believes, “beauty is pain; these days the double eyelid surgery is not even considered plastic surgery.”

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