Vietnamese women keen on using plastic surgery to improve their looks are now scared that they might end up worse off, following some serious complications.
Nguyen Thi Kim Phuong is 42 and she fears what middle age will do to her face.Like many of her friends, she views plastic surgery as a way to prolong her youthful appearance.
Initially, Phuong planned to perform facelift and nose surgery at a cosmetic hospital in District 10, Saigon next month at a cost of more than 80 million VND (3,438 USD).
But she changed her mind, fearing for her life after a series of deadly cosmetic surgeries went wrong at private clinics in Vietnam's southern capital.
“I want to look younger and more beautiful when the Lunar New Year is approaching.But I'm afraid to die, I don't dare to risk my life," said the grocery store owner.
"They (beauty clinic consultant staff) guaranteed that the surgery would be 100 percent successful and advised me to keep an optimistic mind.
“But the recent deaths and accidents from plastic surgery in private clinics really scares me.It seems that going under the knife of plastic surgeons in Vietnam is a gamble."
Unlike Phuong, Nguyen Ho Thanh Nhi has not thought of going under the knife in Vietnamese beauty clinics though she has far more "legitimate" reason to do so.
Nhi has high cheekbones, many friends keep advising her to go for cheekbone reduction surgery, afraid that if she can't get married, she will never get married.
It's a long standing Vietnamese superstition that men are advised not to marry women with high cheekbones, unless they want to die early.Even today, in the 21st century, such notions are deeply ingrained in Vietnamese minds.
But, Nhi said: “I'm more afraid of dying than being left on a shelf."
"Improving their appearance is something all the women in the world want, but all this advertising has made people think surgeries are a commodity you get as easily as buying something in a market," said the 26-year-old English teacher in Saigon.
Taking advantage of the widespread desire to look younger and more beautiful, all products and services are advertised, often making very high claims and heavily discounted to entice consumers.
As it happened, this also attracted a lot of unscrupulous and unqualified people, and many were embroiled in their schemes, some with tragic endings.
Vietnam has been drawn to the plastic surgery makeover for several decades now as a result of rising incomes and the adoption of Western ideas of what constitutes beauty and therefore a desire for Western features (round eyes, long nose, bigger breasts and so on).Idolization of celebrities and subsequent aspiration to look like them also plays an important role.
While this trend has yet to reach the level of countries like South Korea, home to the world's largest plastic surgery industry, and China, the fastest growing market, it is still growing in the country. this.
Last year, Vietnam was rated as the country with the cheapest plastic surgery costs in the world - with a nose correction costing just under $1,000 and breast augmentation costing $2,000.
However, these low prices come with the risk of false claims and unqualified bags, and difficulty in distinguishing who is real from fake.
In such a scenario, disasters are no longer rare.
On October 14, a 59-year-old Vietnamese American woman died after facelift surgery at Kangnam Plastic Surgery Hospital, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.Heath officials said she died of anesthetic shock.
Just 4 days later, a 33-year-old Vietnamese woman died after breast augmentation surgery at EMCAS Plastic Surgery Hospital, District 10.She had respiratory failure and pneumothorax (collapsed lung) leading to cardiac arrest.
It was discovered that Dinh Viet Hung, a surgeon for EMCAS patients, had used a fake certificate.EMCAS has been ordered to terminate all contracts with its employees and to review their qualifications.
Even then, all the city health department did was ask the directors of the two hospitals to review their shortcomings and prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
Last month, a 65-year-old woman went into a coma and stopped breathing after getting her eyebrow tattooed at a local clinic in District 1.
Also last month, in Hanoi, a 28-year-old woman fainted, convulsed after abdominal liposuction at a plastic surgery clinic on Kim Nguu Street and had to be taken to a nearby hospital.
The most shocking case of illegal plastic surgery occurred in 2013 when a woman in Hanoi died during liposuction and breast augmentation.Her body was thrown into the Red River by the surgeon himself.The surgeon was sentenced to 19 years in prison in December 2014.
Some people who have undergone plastic surgery say it is an experience they never want to repeat.
Having a drug overdose, lying unconscious in a room and waking up from surgery looking worse than before is not uncommon.
Vietnamese-American woman Janie Phuong Nguyen paid more than $3,000 for a double eyelid surgery at a local clinic in Hanoi last year, and she feels lucky to have returned home safely.
"All my friends say I look like a different person and now I look fierce," said Phuong, who lives with her family of four in California.
She had the surgery done during her trip back to Vietnam to celebrate the Lunar New Year, or Tet.
"It feels like lying on the birthing table and completely dependent on fate," she said.
Vietnam has over 100 licensed plastic surgeons in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, but thousands of unlicensed practitioners are operating across the country, according to local health departments.
Ms. Dang Thi Xuan Huong, Vice President of the Vietnam Aesthetic Association, said that cosmetic hospitals sprang up like mushrooms in Vietnam's largest cities when the demand for beauty services and plastic surgery increased. .
“These clinics do not have doctors, but only technical workers who are trained for a few months and then do it for real.Their clients will be lured by enticing advertisements to undergo surgeries that can lead to complications," she said.
This situation arises mainly due to the loose management of local authorities.Huong said plastic surgery clinics don't care about the consequences and focus on making a profit.Meanwhile, clients cannot be sure whether the clinics where they are risking their lives are licensed, she added.
Prof. Le Gia Vinh, Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam General Medical Association, said that many women want to be more beautiful quickly, prefer cheap plastic surgery, so they are not afraid of unlicensed, poor quality facilities. risk.
Deputy Director of the City Health Department Tang Chi Thuong said at a recent meeting, the HCMC government will take measures to tighten control over plastic surgery.
He said related violations include unauthorized medical services, injections of fillers and eyelid surgery, unauthorized or false advertising and the sale of expired or cosmetic products. no clear origin.
Mr. Nguyen Van Nguyen, Head of Health Department of District 10, said that plastic surgery usually happens very quickly, only 15 to 20 minutes/shift, some facilities use surveillance cameras to monitor inspectors.
This makes it difficult for local authorities to solve the problem and the city also lacks the manpower to inspect and control illegal plastic surgery, he said.
Many medical experts believe that authorities need to check whether hospitals, clinics and facilities that provide plastic surgery services provide legal services, raising public awareness. about the pursuit of safe surgical practice and publicizing the list of eligible facilities in the media.
Ms. Nguyen Thi Thoa, Department of Health of Ho Chi Minh City, pointed out another aspect of the problem, saying that some cosmetic facilities do not check the patient's medical history.“This explains why these facilities tend to panic when their patients are in trouble."
Vietnamese American Phuong, who had the double eyelid surgery done in Vietnam, is upset and scared.
“I want to have another surgery to correct my eyelids to make them more beautiful and friendly, but I don't dare risk it again.
"I have to accept the current look on my face."
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