Plastic surgery is increasing in popularity all over the world including China. In fact, minors make up 10 to 20 percent of surgery patients in China, and this group grows by 10 to 15 percent per year in the previous five years. What are the factors behind this increase? Experts say it is the parents’ more open attitude toward plastic surgery and the dreams of fame and stardom among the youth.
More university patients usually seek plastic surgery during their summer vacation. This year, local hospitals say they have also seen more high school students seeking surgery. Doctors, however, have warned that getting cosmetic surgery at a very early age can be dangerous given the fact that their body is still in the developing stage.
According to Dr Tang Ling, of the Shanghai No. 455 Hospital of People’s Liberation Army, they conducted more than 200 surgeries in July, up 30 percent from the same month in 2011 and 50 percent than usual. Middle school or university school students made up 80 percent of this figure, and they came to hospitals with their parents.
The most popular and least risky surgery procedure for minors, mainly 15 to 18 years old, is double-eyelid surgery. Also called Asian blepharoplasty, a double-eyelid surgery is designed to reshape the skin around the eye to widen the eye’s appearance. This procedure creates an upper eyelid with a crease from an eyelid that naturally does not have a crease.
A facelift, however, is not recommended for patients aged below 18, says the hospital.
Leading hospitals in China also say they normally refuse minors requesting for drastic plastic surgery, except for repair of congenital defects or injuries.
As for Tang, his hospital refuses drastic cosmetic surgery such as liposuction, facial restructuring and breast augmentation for minors. These types of surgery are not advised to be performed on patients below 20 years old as these could deter healthy development and lead to slow growth at the site of surgery.
Meanwhile, Shanghai Tida Plastic Surgery Hospital says it declines minors requesting for cosmetic surgery that requires implants as these could bulge as organs and skin grow. Experts also reiterate that patients should not go to beauty parlors or small clinics for such surgeries if they are declined by hospitals.