Despite the "challenges" of present day plastic surgery in China, the future of cosmetic surgery there looks almost boundless.
Chinese plastic surgeons continue to study hard at learning and then mastering the latest techniques from around the world. Many have undergone exchange training in other countries and now returned to guide future training and development. International seminars and trips by visiting expert surgeons are common.
While technology may lag behind in some important areas, at least with certain procedures (for instance, liposuction), Chinese surgeons claim to have already caught up with surgeons in other Asian countries. Unfortunately, language skills in hospitals have not, and very few Chinese plastic surgeons speak more than a few words of English.
Quality control and safety issues, however, pose ever bigger questions for Western consumers all too aware of China's less than stellar record with cost-saving shortcuts, chemical contamination, and industrial pollution.
With growing domestic demand and a seemingly endless pool of home-grown patients, the future for improvement looks bright. Cosmetic plastic surgery has become the fourth most popular way for the Chinese consumer to spend discretionary income, trailing behind only houses, cars and travel.
Plus, while Korea and Japan may boast a higher number of cosmetic operations per capita, their populations are tiny when compared to that in China. Chinese plastic surgeons are thus amassing clinical experience very rapidly while noting that plastic surgeons in South Korea have depleted their own domestic demand as up to 60% of Koreans in their twenties have already undergone plastic surgery.
Predictably, the distant medical tourist is starting to make an appearance as prices often seem too low to pass up. For now, however, most foreign medical travelers are expatriates who speak the language and often still have local family connections.
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