History of plastic surgery; how plastic surgery became a usual thing in Korea

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How plastic surgery became an usual thing in Korea

by YoonJoo Lee in SKKU

A month ago, I was on my way home and saw a group of foreigners near Apgujeong station. They seemed to have been lost and they were keep looking at a map trying to reach their destination. When I was passing really close to them, one foreigner in the group had asked, "Do you know the way to the Dream plastic surgery?". Since I live near that hospital, I told them that I would take them there. That day I was quite shocked. I knew there are lots of people eager to improve their appearances in Korea and that the field of cosmetic surgery is the best in the world. But, it was a shocking fact that even foreigners from all over the globe visit Korea with of purpose of going under plastic surgeries. I will try to answer these questions and focus on the matters. How did human being start to change their appearances? specifically what made Korea become a leader in the cosmetic field? Lookism and the social atmosphere of Koreans having a big desire of being good-looking? I will start on explaining the current level of Korea cometic surgery and the history of plastic surgery.

Firstly, as I had mentioned in the first paragraph, Korea has the best technology in plastic surgery. It surely can be proved by the fact that there is even a "Plastic surgery tourism" in Korea which refers to foreigners coming to Korea and having plastic surgeries done. Those tourists take the underground to Gangmam where the most prestigious plastic surgery are located. Near the subway station, such phrases such as 'Find your Beauty and have a beautiful life" or "Beauty is competitiveness" posted. Lots of photographs are also attached showing before and after images of individuals who had their nose fixed, double eyelid surgery and etc. To make a stronger point, there has been a report form the Daily magazine in Korea in 2006 that many plastic surgeons are gaining annual increases of 26% or more in the number of the number of clients. (Including both the number of foreign clients and local clients. Moreover, in the book “Asian-Americans Criticize Eyelid Surgery Craze,” in Women’s E-news in 2004, there was a report saying, "South Korea has the highest ratio of cosmetic surgeons to citizens worldwide.” To make it short and clear, Korea is the best in cosmetic surgery and it is now a very ordinary thing in Korea. Korean surgeons' have good skills to improve clients' appearance with delicate hands and the operation is done quickly in Korea. In addition, highly competitive prices to remain competitiveness and it the time for recovery after the surgery is shorter than any other countries.The above paragraphs clearly shows Korea being a powerful leading country of cosmetic surgery. However, the history of plastic surgery does not originate from Korea which makes it more interesting to find out the background what made Korea development in the field of plastic surgery. As a reference material, I will cover the history of plastic surgery from an article in "Women interests" Plastic surgery actually dates back to the 700s BCE. In India, Doctors began to use skin grafts for reconstructive work as early as the 8th century BC. A well-known Physician named Sushruta Samhita documented detailed descriptions of rhinoplasty and otoplasty. The Romans were also involved in the beginning days of cosmetic surgery. There began performing surgeries to repair damaged ears around the 1st century BC. Because of the dangers associated with surgeries of any form, especially those that involved the head or facial area, it was not until the 19th and 20th centuries that this became more commonplace. War played a huge role in the history of plastic surgery. World War I presented physicians with scores of severe facial wounds and burns, changing the history of plastic surgery. Modern weapons caused types and severity of injuries that were unprecedented in the history of plastic surgery. Some of the greatest medical talent devoted themselves fully both to exploring the history of plastic surgery and creating new techniques to treat men maimed by the war. Important steps in American history of plastic surgery took place due to the work of this institution, such as recognition of the progress and history of plastic surgery by the American Board of Surgeons. ASPRS members created the first qualifying exam in the history of plastic surgery in the US, and a number of other organizations promoted the future and history of plastic surgery.                           The modern, and more well-known, history of plastic surgery begins in the 1960s and 70s.In Korea, it is not an exaggeration that plastic surgery in South Korea begun on the occasion of the war. on June 1961,the first Korean physician named Yoo Jae Duk who was studying in the United States came back to Korea after majoring in plastic surgery. Yoo Jae Duk became a professor in Yonsei Universit specializing in health care and educated Yonsei students. On May 1966, Plastic Surgery academy was founded and in 1973 the Department of Social and Health Services had accepted plastic surgery as one single specialized medical treatment. Then since 1975, a formal process of education of producing plastic surgeons were formed and the curriculums were completed. By the end of the educating program, pre-plastic-surgeons had to pass the qualifying examination be become a plastic surgeon.

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Then, what is the reason for plastic surgery being an ordinary life matter in Korea? In my opinion, lookism is a main factor that can answer this question.For better explanation, I searched up for the term 'lookism' in the encyclopedia. Lookism is a term used to refer to discrimination against or prejudice towards others based on their appearance. The term was first coined within the Fat acceptance movement. It was used in the The Washington Post Magazine in 1978, which asserted that the term was coined by "fat people" who created the word to refer to discrimination based on looks. It ...

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