• Nip/Tuck: Are you willing to have cosmetic surgery to look better?

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    Nips and tucks are on the rise seemingly everywhere. While the U.S. is notorious for its beauty-obsessed culture, the country doesn’t take the top plastic surgery spot in the world by percentage of population. That medal goes to South Korea, according to 2010 data reported by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

    “The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has worked hard to share best practices,” said Dr. Julius Few, director of the Few Institute for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. “This educational initiative combined with wider acceptance abroad has led to an increased acceptance in some cultures over others.”

    Top 7 Nip/Tuck Nations

    #1 — South Korea

    The plastic surgery industry has stormed Asia, and South Korea has the continent’s biggest clientele. The Economist first reported that a 2009 survey by a market-research firm known as Trend Monitor found that about one in five women from Seoul have undergone some sort of plastic surgery.

    According to the report, more than 360,000 total procedures were performed in 2010, with the most common procedures being liposuction, nose jobs and blepharoplasty, or double eyelid surgery. More than 44,000 double eyelid surgeries were performed in 2010.

    “In Asia, it’s very common for patients to want more Western-looking eyes,” said Dr. Malcolm Roth, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “So that’s really no surprise there.”

    #2 — Greece

    “Greece is a head scratcher,” said Roth.

    With a floundering economy, Roth said it is surprising that the country came in second in overall procedures performed.

    “A country’s economy and the access to disposable income usually plays a big part in the demand of plastic surgery unless the government pays for it,” said Roth.

    But Few said it just goes to show that globalization is affecting the plastic surgery industry in unexpected places.

    “There is little room to sit still when we consider innovation, domestic or international,” said Few.

    Breast augmentations took the top spot among invasive surgeries in Greece. Of note, a reported 592 penis enlargement procedures were performed in 2010, ten times more than the average of other countries that made the list.

    #3 — Italy

    The Mediterranean boot came in third with a total of 815,745 procedures performed in 2010. Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox Dysport) was the most popular procedure performed overall and liposuction was the most common invasive procedure with more than 69,000 reported.

    Experts were surprised by Italy’s placement over Brazil, and warned that the data should be taken with caution.

    The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons issued questionnaires to about 20,000 plastic surgeons throughout the world, requesting the number of surgical and non-surgical procedures they performed in 2010. Only 698 came back completed in the allotted time.

    “I think clearly we have to take caution with this data, since we don’t know how accurate it is,” said Roth.

    #4 — Brazil

    Brazil: Home to all people, places and things of hotness. Brazil took up fourth place in the list, and liposuction and breast implants were the most popular invasive surgeries among the population.

    “Culturally speaking, Brazilians have no problem with plastic surgery,” said Roth. “If anything, it’s seen as a status symbol to have had it.”

    Few said he was surprised Brazil didn’t make it higher on the list, especially because the country has “a number of government-based tax-deduction systems in place to support elective plastic surgery.”

    Earlier this year, the government made cosmetic surgeries deductible from income tax, and the discounts are backdated for surgeries as early as 2004. The government believes cosmetic surgery is in such high demand that the additional income to those in the industry will outweigh the money lost to deductions.

    #5 — Colombia

    Coming in at a close second to its neighbor and fifth overall, Shakira’s home country has a high demand for going under the knife. Liposuction was the most popular procedure, both among surgical and non-surgical procedures, with nearly 90,000 reportedly performed in 2010.

    Colombia has become a hot spot for cosmetic tourism, where foreigners travel there to get a nip here and a tuck there.

    While there are certainly an abundance of safe options in the countries listed, Roth said it’s important to remember the trusty adage: “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”

    Cosmetic tourism has become more popular along with higher demand, but Roth warned against going abroad to undergo surgery.

    “People go other places because it’s cheap, but you really have to do your homework, even more, if you decide to go abroad to get plastic surgery,” said Roth. “There are absolutely safe procedures being done in other countries, but you have to be very careful. If something goes wrong, a lot of things can go worse when you’re not in your own country with your own doctor.”

    #6 — USA

    The report showed more than 3.3 million reported invasive and non-invasive surgical procedures performed in 2010, but the ASPS reported more than 13 million total procedures performed in the same year. Demand continues to rise as the country slowly makes its way out of economic hardship.

    Liposuction showed to be the most in-demand procedure, with breast augmentations coming in a close second.

    “Because people are beginning to talk openly about it, we’ve seen over the last couple decades the demand for plastic surgery grow,” said Roth. “People are realizing that it’s more common than most people think and there doesn’t have to be a stigma around it.”

    #7 — Taiwan

    Taiwan rounded out the Top 7 List with a total of 221,116 total procedures performed in 2010. Wrinkle reducers like Botox were the most popular among all surgeries performed.

    Not only does economy likely play into the Taiwan’s demand for surgery, but trends play a heavy role in the nip/tuck game as well, said Dr. Garry Brody, professor of plastic surgery at USC Medical Center.

    “It is more likely how in any given society the local fashion develops in different ways,” said Brody.

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