South Korea’s latest Plastic Surgery trend attracts criticism
South Korea is well known for its love of Plastic Surgery, having as it does the highest rate per capita.
Surgeries that enjoy the most popularity include rhinoplasties (nose jobs) and also eyelid surgery – often, its believed, to give the eye a more Westernised look by removing hooded lids.
The latest craze though now includes something far more invasive - jaw realignment surgery. Once the preserve of the dentist, when serious dental flaws and subsequent disfigurement was apparent, it has now shifted across to the cosmetic arena.
The step towards the cosmetic industry was made by a dental clinic in Seoul around four years ago, where the potential for it to make jaws more delicate and feminine (it’s almost solely targeted at and carried out on women) was picked up on.
Since then plastic surgeons and dentists alike have been offering it in their droves on a cosmetic basis. In Seoul in particular adverts abound for the surgery, including before and after photos on billboards.
The procedure has not been without its critics, however, with some expressing concern over the serious nature of the operation in relation to the perceived lack of seriousness in its cause – vanity.
A professor of dentistry at Seoul University, Choi Jin-young, comments:
“This surgery alters your look far more dramatically than, say, Botox or a nose job because it changes your entire facial bone structure. It’s a very complex, potentially dangerous surgery. It’s disturbing to see people with no real dental flaws daring to go through it just to have a small, pretty face.”
The procedure, which includes cutting away bone before re-setting the jaw bones together again, involves general anaesthetic and can take months to recover from.
Despite that, it is often touted by celebrities who are sometimes hired by doctors to extol the virtues of the procedure in order to boost sales. This, alongside decreasing costs for the surgery and extensive advertising, has seen it rise in number over the last four years.
One doctor defends it however, referring to the huge emphasis that South Koreans place on beauty, especially in women:
“Yes, it was originally invented to correct a dental deformity, but you can’t blame someone for getting the surgery to look good, especially in a place like the South where beauty, especially for women, pretty much trumps it all.”