Although traditionally not popular among most medical tourists, the Cambodian plastic surgery business has been booming.
Despite the global economic downturn or perhaps because of it, plastic surgery services in Cambodia have double and tripled in some areas. One established surgeon reported a ten-fold increase between 2008 and 2009.
Along with the good results have come more than a few that are not so good.
Cosmetic surgeons are supposed to be registered by the country's health ministry, but such laws are loosely enforced. Many providers operate illegally with no training beyond a few months of informal observation.
One basic structural problem is Cambodia's underdeveloped health care system that trains no plastic surgeons of its own. Bona fide surgeons must thus come from nearby countries or abroad. Some claim that they spend most of their time operating on patients with complications from illegal surgery.
From suction cup breast augmentation that rips apart ligaments to facial silicone injections that migrate and deform, the damage can be severe.
Wealthy Cambodians can afford to travel to Thailand and elsewhere, but the less fortunate seem to be too easily taken in by their desire to look like foreign celebrities at an unbelievably low fraction of the cost of plastic surgery elsewhere.
Although legitimate practitioners offer very attractive pricing, unregistered clinics undercut them dramatically, all of which has led to an upswing in not just local people being coaxed into using illegal services but also visitors from Australia, Europe, and the United States.
More on Asian Plastic Surgery in Southeast Asia >
Cosmetic Surgery in Southeast Asia
A mix of countries offering cosmetic services that range from world-class good to world-class sad
Plastic Surgery in Thailand
Thailand boasts one of the most highly-developed medical tourism programs in Asia
Plastic Surgery in Singapore
The World Health Organization ranked Singapore's health system the best in Asia
Plastic Surgery in Vietnam
While growing quickly, Vietnam suffers from minimal regulation and lax enforcement
Plastic Surgery in Malaysia
One big attraction is Malyasia's good value to quality ratio
Plastic Surgery in Indonesia
Most cosmetic surgery in Indonesia is performed by unlicensed practitioners
Plastic Surgery in the Philippines
Phiippines offers modern facilites, the latest technology, and well-trained plastic surgeons
Plastic Surgery in Cambodia
Cambodia's underdeveloped health care system trains almost no plastic surgeons of its own