A growing number of Chinese high school graduates are seeking plastic surgery right before college in the hopes of opening more doors for their future. Many choose to go under the knife after the Gaokao, the grueling national entrance examination for higher education.
The practice is gaining popularity regardless of sex and college major, Shanghaiist reported. Most girls flock to clinics for double-eyelid work, while boys prep themselves for fuller noses and/or thinner faces. Plastic surgery was once more popular for students coming from performing arts schools, but this is no longer the case.
Students reportedly submit themselves to boost their self-confidence. Some parents are supportive of their children’s decision, even advising on the best operation.
Li Weiwei from Beijing Tsinghua Changgung Hospital’s cosmetic center observed that her clients are getting younger, with many of them being around the age of 17 or 18. She also had a fully-packed schedule, “My clients have gotten younger in recent years, and many were accompanied by their parents.”
Li shared that most high-schoolers prefer double eyelid surgery. This accounts to about 70% of all patients. Nose reshaping and implantation follow at around 30%.
Meanwhile, college students are more cautious about undergoing surgeries, Li pointed. They prefer micro-operations such as skin whitening and face-thinning injections.
The emphasis on physical appearance is becoming standard in developed Asian countries, with South Korea in the lead. Infamously dubbed as the Plastic Surgery Capital of the World, the nation has sunk millions into promoting medical tourism.
But South Korea’s clinics are noticing a decline in patient numbers. Cosmetic surgery demand from China, in particular, sees this drop, Korea Herald noted. Cited reasons include overcharging (two to ten times higher than locals), illegal brokers and unqualified surgeons.
“I deem the number of Chinese patients visiting Gangnam for cosmetic surgery to have dropped by as much as one-third.” an anonymous pharmacy head from Gangnam told the outlet. “When a Chinese patient pays a commission fee to a broker, the operation cost would have to go down. Because the operation cost is low, the surgery will be undertaken by an intern surgeon or even an unqualified doctor, which leads to frequent medical malpractice,” she added.
China has in recent times been the home of several plastic surgery tales, from women who will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to look like Chinese celebrities, rich kids with terrible plastic surgery obsessions and even horrifying tales of plastic surgery school malpractice.
For now, Li advised the public to steer away from illegal products and unqualified practitioners.
China’s cosmetic surgery industry is valued at 400 billion yuan, or $62.6 billion, BBC reported earlier this year. China Association of Plastics and Aesthetics projects this amount to double by 2019.