Plastic Surgery: The Cost of Beauty | 101 East


South Korea has the most cosmetically enhanced people on the planet. The practice of going under the knife is viewed as a gateway to better careers and the key to a happier life. But the high demand for a plastic appearance is also fueling a dangerous addiction. I’m Steve Chow on this edition of 101 East we’ve investigated South Korea’s plastic surgery boom. South Korea’s capital, Seoul, is at the heart of a growing obsession. An obsession to look perfect. People from across the nation and the world are flocking here for plastic surgery, supporting what has become a five billion dollar a year industry. More people have cosmetic surgery in South Korea per capita than anywhere else on Earth. But the quest for beauty and profits is putting lives at risk. What’s driving the growth of this booming business? And at what price to both individuals and the wider Korean society? In South Korea, it seems beauty is everything. For women, that means big round eyes, a pointed nose, a pleasant smile, a V-shaped chin, and a slim jaw. And this is when they come to get it. So this is Apgujeong, which is effectively the Las Vegas strip of plastic surgery, and all the lights behind me here all these businesses 95% of these businesses are plastic surgery clinics, and you walk past these clinics and I have a lot of advertising in the front windows and there’s pictures of the doctors and the doctors are effectively the movie stars of the plastic-surgery world They’re the celebrities of the clinic, demigods. More than 4000 clinics provide cosmetic surgery in Seoul, with an estimated 650,000 per year going under the knife. The number of operations are soaring, but with that has come an increase in cases where things go wrong. Today, I’m visiting one of the biggest and most popular plastic surgery clinics in Seoul. Man: Hey Nick: Hey Man: How are you? Nick: Nice to meet you! Man: Welcome to Grand Plastic Surgery. 10 years old, the Grand has recently expanded. Opening a 15-story tower with state-of-the-art medical facilities, employing 30 doctors, and 400 staff. We were given unprecedented access to the building. We’ll be at closely monitored by a PR team. The general manager, KS. Young, gave us a tour The Grand needs to present a positive image in order to maintain its position as one of Seoul’s leading plastic surgery clinics. Young is very keen to show me that surgery here isn’t a risk. What would you say is the most popular surgery here? The majority of plastic surgery patients are women in their late teens and twenties. like Ahn Min Yung, a 24 year old piano teacher from Seoul. As part of the package, she’s having a pre-op photo shoot. Like most of the Grand’s customers, her reasons for going under the knife have nothing to do with medical necessity. One of Seoul’s most famous surgeons is Ryu Sang Wook, head doctor at Grand plastic surgery. [Knocks] Under Doctor Wook’s stewardship, the Grand has gained a reputation as a clinic that can perform the full range of surgeries. This one-stop-shop service has turned it into one of the country’s most lucrative. Ahn is just one of many young people who are choosing to go under the knife. Koreans are flocking to plastic surgery clinics like never before. It’s even common for parents to buy their children cosmetic operations as high school graduation gifts. For many, the promise of perfection and the pressure to conform are evident in the relentless media and advertising Koreans are bombarded with on a daily basis. In such an image driven consumerist environment, plastic surgery has become a high demand and lucrative industry. And now, it’s luring doctors from other fields. More doctors means more surgeries can be done, and clinics are increasingly trying to attract international clients to stay ahead of the pack YK plastic surgery in Gangnam is one of many smaller clinics targeting overseas customers According to its marketing manager, Park Jae-min. In 2013, some 400,000 foreigners came to South Korea for medical tourism, and this number is expected to rise to 1 million by 2020. YK’s head doctor, Kim Yong Kyu, says attracting foreign patients is a matter of survival for the clinics. Today, South Korea’s reputation leads the world for plastic surgery. Chinese patient, Zhu A Li (I apologize for mispelling it) traveled all the way from Shanghai for an operation in which she feels will improve her looks. To cater for this expanding market, a specially-designed government-funded center is open for foreign medical tourists. Hi, hi. Hey I’m nick This is Natalie. [Nick: Nice to meet you]. This is the place for foreign visitors from all the world to get medical service. This is a very interesting things. It’s a kiosk, so visitors come here if you are interesting about their surgery, but you don’t know where they need to go So I’ll press the button. It shows clinics is specialized for nose plastic surgeries So even location send it to their emails. [Nick: Asks your email from here, ok.] Squared jaw reduction. That’s just chopping down the jaw? [Natalie: Yes, yes, exactly] $4,134 Is there an age where it’s too young for you to let foreign people come for surgery? There’s no regulations, no. [Nick: Okay, alright.] For morality, they need to take think about it. [Nick: Oh all the clinics?] Yes, right, okay, okay? It depends on individuals. Okay, this is our experience. [inaudible] If you want to try [Nick: Yes, I’ll like to.] Put your forehead here and close your eyes. There’s going to [inaudible[. Please close your eyes Is this new technology? [Natalie: Yes, this is brand new and made by Korea.] It’s Korean technology. Okay, so all done, okay? How do I look? [Natalie: uhh] You need some time to analyze second please okay? Okay There’s pictures for your pores and wrinkles. We usually suggest them if we reduce the winkles with botox. Don’t move these muscles and these lines, It’s winkles. so this is good indication for filler [inaudible]. Generally, I feel your skin is well, it’s great. It’s not bad. [Nick: Oh, thank you.] Just take care of your winkles Here, plastic surgery seems safe and friendly. But that’s not the reality for everyone. Shin Hyun Ho is a lawyer who specializes in prosecuting botched surgeries. He says victims often win cases, but due to Korean laws, compensation payouts are small, compared to countries like the U.S. He believes this makes doctors and clinics more willing to take unnecessary risks. He believes this makes doctors and clinics more willing to take unnecessary risks. Soo Yi Yoon is one plastic surgery client who claims her life has been destroyed by doctor one of Seoul’s leading clinics. She had her face and jaw line slimmed down and eyelid correction surgery. So was attracted to her clinic by positive customer reviews online, but these reviews could well have been faked by shady middlemen third party brokers have no medical knowledge of qualifications, and are paid commissions by clinics to entice customers. We managed to contact one of these brokers, but he’s extremely cautious. He insists we meet him in a provincial town two hours outside of Seoul and only wants to be interviewed in disguise at night in a backstreet alley. Do you actively try to persuade people who perhaps don’t really need plastic surgery to have plastic surgery? Soo was unable to afford a compensation lawyer and now works two jobs In order to pay off the $11,000 in credit card debts for her failed surgery. It’s time for Ahn to go under the knife But she remains anxious. It will be 3 or four months before Ahn finds out if this operation gives her the look she wants. But for one 19-year old woman, the quest for beauty has had devastating consequences She was left with severe brain damage after having plastic surgery at the Grand Since we’ve left Seoul, the Korean association of plastic surgeons have publicly apologized to the woman’s family, and expelled 4 of the Grand’s doctors after investigating the clinic. The Grand did not respond to our request for comment on the case. It seems the Grand didn’t hold the key to Ahn’s dreams of beauty either. The hospital told us she wasn’t happy that her face didn’t look slimmer after recovery. When we tried to contact her for a final interview, she stopped returning our calls With illegal brokers and a spate of malpractice victims, Koreans are paying a higher price for pursuing perfection. Despite the dangers, the rates of plastic surgery keep rising Some fear it’s creating a society where nothing matters but beauty. But for others, their perception of what is beautiful has changed forever.

100 thoughts on “Plastic Surgery: The Cost of Beauty | 101 East

  1. So when their babies are born they are though that they were born โ€œimperfectโ€?!!! ๐Ÿ˜“

  2. I cant understand this because next to African Americans, the asians in my own opinion are the second most beautiful looking people.

  3. many asian women do not natural beautiful such as big jaw and flat nose small eyes. I am also. After I surgery I worry about infected. I must to check my blood. now nobody tell I am more beatiful.

  4. My first girlfriend was Japanese. Iโ€™ve always had a thing for oriental women ever since!

  5. This is very bad and very sad.. the girl is already pretty and doesnโ€™t need a surgery. ๐Ÿฅบ๐Ÿฅบ

  6. Lol he wears a mask in a back alley at night, how do we know YOU didn't pay some random to do that for your shady review story!?

    This message was paid for by Banobagi Aesthetic Clinic

  7. So sad to see these women put themselves in harms way for beauty. Real beauty is held within us and can shine in something as simple as a smile

  8. I personally think Korean women are naturally pretty and cute. I mean all human being in this world are created perfectly imperfect. Love yourselves please. โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’”

  9. Proper diet and exercise and of course the calmness and peacefullness within of being who u are whats make truly beautiful

  10. Kyun bhai..natural raho na..you people have a beautiful skin and beautiful face..please embrace your natural selves..โค….

  11. If those are some fuller cheecks..then i have balloons inserted in my face..๐Ÿ˜

  12. So the boys want a model and the girls want to be a model. The industry wants to make big money so it's invested in making people feel bad about themselves then offer them a costly dangerous solution. It's no different than any other culture. People need to learn to love themselves as God loves them and made them. But this will not happen as long as people look elsewhere for happiness and success.

  13. just love yourself, don't follow what people do just because they are pretty (and this comes from a guy who have a lot of acne scars on his face and have been called ugly by many people) …. sure everyone want to be good looking but if you're just average on looks , work hard on other things about yourself such as fitness because health is much more important than looks, and also sometimes if you workout enough your looks improve as well, you look good and feel fresh

  14. Yes, a sad sad case of trying to look like one of those glossy magazine of beautiful faces! Setting a very disgusting attitude for the next generation

  15. So sad….. everyone is beautiful in their own way

  16. and then there is north korea.. they cant even style their hair or dress the way they want

  17. Both girls are still beautiful either way… Please girls if you read these comments.. know that you are still beautiful and can achieve amazing things with your lives! Just because surgery didn't turn out exactly as you wanted doesn't mean it looks bad. It really doesn't look bad. Honestly, I didn't know there was an issue with your face until the narrator said something and you pointed it out. We are our own worst critics. Please be kind to yourself!! Love yourself! You are already beautiful, but also know that you don't have to be a supermodel to be amazing! Sending hugs your way!!

  18. A famous quote: "If you live for others acceptance, you'll die from their rejection."

  19. Why don't you Accept/Appreciate your parents gave you everything rather than do plastic surgery just accept who you are don't get jealous to other peoples appearance

  20. *They don't consider eye or nose job as a surgery but cosmetic procedure"
    Tell that to all the Korean idols who have them and was condemned for it ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

  21. ํ•œ๊ตญ์—์„œ ์„ฑํ˜•์™ธ๊ณผ๊ฐ€ ํฌ๊ฒŒ ์„ฑ๊ณต ํ•  ์ˆ˜์žˆ๋Š”๊ฑด ๊ทธ๋งŒํผ ํ•œ๊ตญ์‚ฌํšŒ๊ฐ€ ์™ธ๋ชจ๋‚˜ ๊ฒ‰์น˜๋ ˆ ๊ฐ™์€ ํ—ˆ๋ก€ํ—ˆ์‹์— ๋ณ‘๋“ค์–ด ์žˆ๋‹ค๋Š” ๊ฒƒ์ด๋‹ค.
    ์ž์‹ ์˜ ๊ฐœ์„ฑ๊ณผ ์ฃผ๊ด€๋ณด๋‹ค๋Š” ๋Œ€์„ธ์™€ ์œ ํ–‰์„ ์ซ“๊ณ , ๊ทธ ํ‹€์—์„œ ์ดํƒˆํ•˜๊ฑฐ๋‚˜ ๋”ฐ๋ฅด์ง€ ์•Š์œผ๋ฉด ๋‚˜๋Œ„๋‹ค๊ฑฐ๋‚˜ ์‚ฌํšŒ๋ถ€์ ์‘์ž๋กœ ๋ณด๋Š” ์‹œ์„ ๋“ค…
    ์ด๊ฒŒ ํ•œ๊ตญ์ธ๋“ค์ด ๋ถˆํ–‰ํ•˜๊ฒŒ ์‚ฌ๋Š” ์ด์œ ๋‹ค.

  22. Iโ€™ve always want to go to Korea, but I really donโ€™t think Iโ€™d be welcome there since I have a quite wide jaw and dark skin…… I just wish it wasnโ€™t like that, not just for me, but for everyoneโ€™s benefit.

  23. I think it's funny how beauty is such a cultural idea. I find monolids and strong jaws and cheek bones to be stunning. Grass is always greener I suppose.

  24. ์„ฑํ˜•๋„ ์›๋ž˜ ์˜ˆ์œ ์‚ฌ๋žŒ์ด ์„ฑํ˜•์„ ํ•ด์•ผ ๋” ์˜ˆ๋ป์ง€๋Š”๊ฑฐ์ง€, ์ผ๋ฐ˜ ์—ฌ์ž๋“ค ์„ฑํ˜• ํ•ด๋ด์•ผ ์ธ์ƒ๋งŒ ๋” ์–ด์ƒ‰ํ•˜๊ณ  ์ด์ƒํ•ด์ง„๋‹ค.์‹ฌ ํ•˜๋ฉด ์„ฑ๊ดด, ์ƒ๊ธด๋Œ€๋กœ ์‚ด์ž.

  25. Once youโ€™ve done one successful plastic surgery, that first feeling will get your addiction urge going…and you will want more…and more…

  26. As somone whos part Chinese i think this practice is wrong young women especially are to harsh on their natural bueaty and want to damage their looks all because of boady image forcing young people to change their looks in the name of bueaty looks should not matter in getting a job its weather you have the skills and knowledge of the job you apply for the music teacher looks fine she doesn't need cheek bone shaving plastic surgery should only be for people whom have been seriously disfuigerd from an accident that affects a curtain area

  27. Plastic surgery for the sake of public opinion is not normal. Just thinking about anaesthesia and surgery makes me panicky. This is my body, the one and only. Why cut it and destroy it? I have experience in operations, but then they saved my life. A scar at the waist will remind me all my life of that scary moment. Due to improper anaesthesia, I woke up and did not feel my body. The hardest thing for me was to open my eyelids at least. And I could not do even that for a long time. Miraculously, I survived. But I began to suffer from migraines, visual impairment and many other diseases.

  28. Koreans please stop surgerys, u people are beautiful and looks aren't everything, change your thinking or get brain treatment!!!(you are destroying yourselfs and the coming new generations, grow up please!!)

  29. Koreans please stop surgerys, u people are beautiful and looks aren't everything, change your thinking or get brain treatment!!!(you are destroying yourselfs and the coming new generations, grow up please!!)

  30. Koreans please stop surgerys, u people are beautiful and looks aren't everything, change your thinking or get brain treatment!!!(you are destroying yourselfs and the coming new generations, grow up please!!)

  31. If they want to change their appearances and look more western, why dont they marry western people. More chance for diversity.

  32. I wish i could reach through the screen and give a hug to the lady who had a botched surgery. I still think she is very pretty!

  33. I used to worry about my pimples but after watching this I think I'm one the most unique and beautiful person alive ๐Ÿคญ

  34. Ya all Korean are plastic and world love only plastic which are harming our environment.what a joke plastic people are getting attention and beauty standard not real beauty,and they are proud about it what a sad reality.๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜ž

  35. I'm glad that i wasn't born there. Imagine my mother telling me to have ps. I'll die instead.

  36. Its sad that the girl didnt get what she wanted. Its a failed surgery yes . but she is still well and she doesn't look tat bad alot of normal people looks like her. How pretty does she wants to get? Just get on with life .. omg

  37. She literally said that she did not want to change but did it?! Why? That saddens me

  38. That's why even the parents are pretty and handsome but they kids so different ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜

  39. Rib cartilage nose surgery is saver than silicon implant. use your own issue to make you prettier

  40. It's really sad. Both of those girls were already beautiful to begin with. They didn't need anything.

  41. After you did the plastic surgery, your child is born and looks different and ugly , just let it do plastic surgery too, vicious cycle. But the plastic surgery clinics are happy and itโ€™s good business.

  42. Everybody is beautiful in a way but I think some people are already near perfect yet they're still getting surgery which I think ruins their natural beauty! Even if you're not that good looking, remember that there's always someone who envies you just like how you would envy others.

  43. It's sad that people get plastic surgery to make themselves feel better about how they look but then they still get judged and are called fake.

  44. These ads are also in Chinese because the Chinese customers take a great portion in this streamlined beauty industry (and unfortunately too, us Chinese mongoloids have signatured small eyes, mongoloid eye folds and round flat faces), some of my recognizance or familiar had taken plastic surgery. Plastic smiles are becoming mere products no other than potato chips and instant noodle.

  45. Ianya menganiaya orang lain dengan melakukan perbuatan seperti ini. Pembalasan Tuhan pasti ada untuk orang tengah dan klinik yang terlibat. Kepada mangsa, kejadian asal yang Tuhan telah berikan adalah yang terbaik. Mengapa perlu diubah.

  46. I think this happens when they have lots of money to spend.
    Increase their commodities and makeup items cost.
    And increase plastic sugery costs tooo.
    This should stop those poor souls from undergoing such things.

  47. And she was so pretty …. i think about do it too but im scare to Begin worst…. the world is more beautifull for who's beautifull.

  48. Some ppl do need surgery like Priyanka Chopra who transformed from ugly duckling to pretty girl…but only if the face is making money for you. No need for average ppl to do this!

  49. Im always against alterations to the human body. even the teeth. The thought of cutting the cheek bones is just terrifying.

  50. Im from india( south ) here we dont buy things which look alike even if it is the prettiest thing that u can get in this whole universe. We jst want it be different and jst gud enough .In that place how come people want to be exactly lyk other pretty people. Jst be satisfied with what u have. Andjst be confident

  51. I had my nose job last April.and I'm happy about it but there is still sime moment of my self I ask why did I do that. I look so different maybe more prettier but seems no soul for my face. Truly Allah is all knowing and put and us in the perfect shape… So ๐Ÿ˜ฅ sad.. I miss my face before my surgery๐Ÿ˜”

  52. This is what happens when people are totally insecure. (No Offense Intended) You know the risks before hand. And yes their are doctors who shouldn't even be doing these things but still people know the risks before hand.

  53. Amazing since Koreans are not very good looking to begin with and surgery is not going to help a lot.

  54. In kdrama, movies and kpop it's hard to distinguish the actors most of the time they all look alike, so basically in South Korea everyone is a clone of each other.

  55. Ironically, all this is going to do is, perpetuate & spread the button nose gene – and even LESS women will have the tall straight nose moving forward.

  56. You are still a very beautiful woman! Very much so. Don't cry, be thankful it wasn't worse!

  57. Some day, after everyone starts achieving this so called beauty standard, they will get tired of the look and change it to something different. Itโ€™s unique, until everyone has the โ€œuniqueโ€ look

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