Due to its late start and sudden massive demand, the field of cosmetic plastic surgery in China has experienced "growing pains."
Regulation, while much improved, is still not on a par with other nearby cosmetic surgery powerhouses. Wealthy Chinese remain wary and often travel to Korea or Japan despite much higher costs, not that their exodus has much of a dent on growth rate of the local cosmetic surgery industry.
In fact, cosmetic surgery represents one of the fastest growing and most profitable industries in the country. Doctors in the busiest public hospitals may perform fifty operations in a single day, while surgeons in the country's 10,000+ private clinics tend to devote a little more time per patient.
As the media had grown more commercialized, advertising is everywhere, from newspaper to dedicated magazines to massive billboards to shopping carts and taxis.
Television has been overrun with crass spectacles of mega-makeovers on the "ugliest" and beauty contests for those who've been transformed head to toe, all designed to appeal to the fantasies of the average young and middle-aged citizens and drive up demand. In exchange for promotion, free surgery has been doled out to carefully selected spokespersons.
Such marketing has been widely effective, and the country's surgeons are on track to perform two million cosmetic procedures this year. The number of procedures is said to be increasing at an annual rate approaching 100%. Nearly half of all patients are in their twenties, and most operations are done to modify normal ethnic traits rather than reverse changes from aging.
At such a breakneck pace of growth, some Chinese plastic surgeons have grown cautious and warned of the risk of crude and unnatural work, especially among the average shoppers who may search long and hard but only for the lowest cost.
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