Cosmetic surgery statistics in Asia has reached staggering numbers these past few years.

From being among those who have long taken the backseat when it comes to elective surgical procedures to being the hub and provider of quality medical aesthetic outcomes, Asia has indeed come full circle in this arena.



Source: Economist

But what has been fuelling this craze? And what are the factors that elevated Asia into one of the most top ranking regions when it comes to shelling out money for cosmetic procedures?

Surveys have shown that cosmetic surgeries have risen in Asian countries  such as Korea, China and Japan, see Asian cosmetic surgery statistics above. With over thousands of cosmetic procedures performed daily in surgical clinics, surgeons see that there is a booming market in Asia. Today Asian countries are among those that are widely known to offer services not only to their locals, but foreigners as well. This elevated Asia to be a prominent region when it comes to medical tourism.

With this high demand, cosmetic surgeons all over the world have improved their techniques and approaches in order to cater to the steadily increasing demand of  Asian cosmetic surgeries.

Cosmetic Surgeries Catered for Asians

The surgical beauty industry has also been sensitive to the unique Asian anatomy. And in order to cater to their cosmetic requests without really changing their Asian features, procedures like Asian rhinoplasty and double eyelid surgery are introduced.

What makes these procedures different from the regular cosmetic surgeries done on European or Western patients is that the surgeon makes sure that he fashions the features in a way that would be appropriate to the Asian face.

The results draw a lot of clients in because they saw that they can have an improved appearance without really having it looking too severe. A natural-looking result is achievable which means they can easily conceal the fact that they had something done.

For instance an Asian rhinoplasty can result to a nose that has the appropriate amount of length, width and projection which fits the physical structure of the Asian face.

The Obsession over Beauty

Another factor that could also be attributed to the boom of Asian cosmetic surgeries is the people’s obsession over beauty. According to a case in China, a man divorced and sued his wife for being ugly with him winning $120,000 on the case.

This eyebrow raising story started when the wife gave birth to their first baby, which looked like neither of the two of them. The husband said that the baby was “incredibly ugly” which led him to suspect that his wife must have cheated on him. He demanded to know who baby’s father was and this pushed his wife to  admit that she had intensive cosmetic surgery done before they were dating. The disgruntled husband sued his wife of fraud because according to him she got him to marry her under false pretenses.

Although this story might be treading along the bizarre, this is a classic example of how much a lot of Asians would go to change the way they look.  Some do not seek cosmetic surgery to have a nose or an eye corrected, but also to achieve the total overhaul. Asian movies such as Time and 200 Pounds Beauty show how popular and in demand these Asian cosmetic surgeries are due to the obsession to spotless beauty.

The Desire for Westernized Look

It is also a growing trend in Asia to have patients of all ages coming in to get cosmetic surgeries in an effort to make themselves look more Westernized.

A CNN report introduced Lee Min Kyong, a 12-year-old who was scheduled by her mother to have an eyelid surgery done to make her look more westernized. Her mom, Jang Hyu Hye says, “This is a society where you have to be pretty to get ahead. She’s my only daughter.” Her daughter also agreed by saying that the surgery would allow her to look better than how she previously looks.

Lee Min Kyong is not alone in this desire, as renowned Seoul-based surgeon, Dr. Kim Byun Gun, claimed that he performs dozens of eyelid surgery procedures in a day. He owns one of the biggest cosmetic surgery centers in South Korea that is approximately 12 stories tall with its operating rooms full daily.

Dr. Lee also adds that aside from Asian eyelid surgery, patients also seek rhinoplasty or nose reshaping to elevate the nose and facial contouring procedures to slim their characteristic round Asian face. His patients wanted these procedures done because they want to emulate a westernized appearance.

Thirty percent of the patients coming in at Dr. Lee’s clinic were international, and in that group 90% are Chinese. The increased numbers of these cases have drawn a lot of criticisms. Some Asian-American women are saying no to such facial tweaking by saying that this is an offensive alteration of ethnic identity.

Dr. Charles Lee, a cosmetic surgeon in Los Angeles who specializes on blepharoplasty, said, “There is more resistance to the procedure here than in Asia.”  He also said that in his practice has seen a lot of ethnicities who want to have that Caucasian standard of beauty.

The high demands of these procedures that change their defining ethic characteristic were seen by some as these patients’ way of saying that they find their ethnicity as negative features.

Serves as an Edge in the Work Industry

Asian cosmetic surgery has dramatically risen over the years, with the highest numbers in China. One of the major reasons why clients do it is to improve their chances in landing work. Dr. Lee said that these surgical procedures to westernize the face serve as an investment to many. He said this improves the patient’s confidence a hundred times better giving them better chances at landing jobs and even finding a mate.

For instance in the heavily populated republic of China, especially with equally impressive credentials and the highly competitive job market, employers would tend to go for those who look younger. That is why Asians are seeking cosmetic surgery help.

Thoughts on the matter…

Asians who want to change the way look is no different than those patients from other races who also want to change some physical features. For Asians who find that a rhinoplasty or blepharoplasty would make them look better whether to look more westernized or not, then that is their prerogative.

If this makes a person feel better and if they deem it necessary to improve their chances of employment, there is nothing wrong with it. People can point fingers by saying that this is vanity, but everyone is entitled to their own decisions over their own body.

Concerns however should be raised when these individuals submit themselves to second rate procedures. Not only will this dramatically change their appearance, severely deviating from what they really look like, but it can also be risky for them as well.

It is also sad that the patient demographic is becoming younger. Parents should not be pushing their children to get elective surgeries done.

The craze and boom of Asian cosmetic surgeries is indeed largely due to the highly influential western culture. Although it is sad that a lot of men and women are finding their own ethnic features unsatisfying, but it is still their choice regarding whatever changes they want in their body.