Anyone undergoing plastic surgery expects to come out looking a little different. The idea is usually to correct a specific feature or body part in order to improve self-esteem or even health.
However, women undergoing cosmetic surgery in Korea are turning out so transformed that they need a certificate to prove who they are.
Cosmetic surgery is now big business in Korea and the surgeons there have become adept at major transformative surgery. It is estimated that 20% of women between the ages of 19 and 49 in Seoul have gone under the knife, statistics which equate to 1 in 77 people.
The general aim of these procedures is not just to alter or correct features, but to specifically make the patient look more ‘western’, something which has been attributed to the country’s growing music industry and its interest in American singers and actors.
Due to the skills of the Korean surgeons in completely remodelling facial features, flocks of Chinese women are now travelling over to Korea with the aim of waking up a brand new person.
Common procedures are rhinoplasty, in order to create a ‘higher’, more Caucasian nose, and eyelid surgery, which removes excess skin from the eyelids in order to make the eyes appear bigger and more western.
Women are often left looking completely different, which has caused some women problems when it comes to getting back into China – they look so different that they are no longer recognisable from their passport photo. This has led to the creation of the ‘plastic surgery certificate’, which contain the patient’s passport number, so that they can prove their identity. After checks are made, the women are allowed to return to China but they are advised to get a new passport.
Of course, many of the surgeons practicing in Korea are very talented, and many women leave happy with the treatment they have received, as can be seen by the fact that many return for further procedures.
In the streets of Seoul, surgery is openly advertised, particularly in the Gangnam area, which is one of the wealthiest areas in the city.