South Korea’s Plastic Surgery Is In Trouble With Botched Patients And Dodgy Doctors

South Korea is known for its $5 billion plastic surgery industry, but is now facing backlash with an increasing number of botched surgeries done by dubious doctors.

Kim Bok-soon, a South Korean woman, didn’t like her nose. While reading a magazine at a hair salon, she stumbled upon a plastic surgery advertisement for a clinic and decided that she wanted a nose job, despite objections from her family members.

South Korea is a country where your physical appearance can drastically change your life. People who have had plastic surgeries have a better quality of life, with better jobs and more marriage prospects. In the country, plastic surgery is as common as having a haircut.

According to Reuters, Kim’s doctor said that he could change the way she looked and Kim decided to go with it. She took out a loan just so she could spend 30 million won, which is about $28,000, and had 15 surgeries done on her face.

When the bandages were removed from Kim’s face, she immediately knew that something had gone terribly wrong. Kim also found out too late that the doctor who performed her surgeries does not specialize in plastic surgery.

Years after her surgery, Kim is now suffering from a series of problems. She is not able to completely close her eyes and her nose runs uncontrollably. At 49-years-old, she suffers from depression and is unemployed.

“It is so horrible that people can’t look at my face. This is not a human face. It is more revolting than monsters or aliens.”

The doctor who performed the surgeries on Kim is facing a criminal case and is charged with violation of medical law. The case started in 2009, after Kim and several other patients with botched surgeries reported the doctor.

Last year, the number of formal complaints on botched plastic surgery procedures doubled in number from 2012. Some of the complaints include “ghost doctors” who perform surgeries for more qualified doctors, extremely aggressive marketing, and unqualified doctors performing plastic surgery procedures.

Though the number of complaints continues to rise, there are still reputable doctors who can perform plastic surgeries well. Cha Sang-myun, the chairman of the Korean Association of Plastic Surgeons, said that he is worried about the future of plastic surgeries and the 1,500 doctors that he represents. He is working with lawmakers in order to have stricter rules on advertising and tighter supervision.

“We’ve got to clean ourselves up. Now, patients from China are coming in the name of plastic surgery tourism but if things go on like this, I don’t think they will come in the next few years.”

Cha also said that because of advertising, people think that surgery is a commodity, but he said that people should understand that plastic surgery is also a surgery and undergoing it is risky.

[Image via SBS]