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Beauty’s Knife: the rise of plastic surgery

Plastic surgery is increasingly popular in the Kingdom, but why do people have it done? Is it a good way to look prettier, or is it unnecessary and dangerous?

“I want to be pretty like everyone else, that’s why I had plastic surgery done,” said Miss Raksmey, a student at University of Health Science. “The doctor used my ear bone to put in my nose because he doesn’t use silicone.”

After surgery, Miss Raksmey’s nose was painfully swollen for a week before it healed. She and her parents are planning another procedure in South Korea.

Beauty is the core attribute that most women desire. Thousands of Cambodians, mostly women, are choosing cosmetic surgery to reshape themselves. Amid this surgical enhancement boom, many women are aiming for what they perceive as the more delicate looks of popular Korean and Chinese film stars.

However, the Independent website cited Prime Minister Hun Sen’s speech in March 2010 where he has slammed the practice, warning that it is often unsafe.

“Women have to beware of dubious standards in the country’s booming cosmetic surgery industry, in which doctors often practise without licences,” Hun Sen said citing a case of a Cambodian woman who died after receiving an injection.

According to statistics provided by the Ministry of Health’s Hospital Department, only four or five clinics legally offer cosmetic surgery in Cambodia. The rest, which are mostly beauty salons, operate illegally.

Surgery is not only very popular for young women, but also for women of all ages, sometimes even men.

“Plastic surgery has become well-known and the amount of patients seeking plastic surgery is rapidly increasing,” said Chanseiha Thoeurng, MD Plastic Surgeon at Pearl Medical Cabinet.

“Cosmetic surgeons are required to register at Cambodia’s health ministry and have proper qualifications.”

He added that people generally come for nose jobs, scar revisions, silicone implants and breast enlargements that cost up to $3,500. Before performing the surgery, he said he always gives patients a chance to decide if plastic surgery is right for them by clearly explaining the good and bad effects and the risks involved. Seiha also checks the patient’s health history to make sure they will sustain the surgery.

“Before choosing surgery, think about some essential points. For instance, the clinic and equipment should be up to standards and the doctor should be professional,” Seiha advised.

Undergoing plastic surgery means taking the risk of potentially negative results if the doctor lacks the proper skills. Surgery can cause a viral infection or bleeding during surgery. It also wastes time and money if the result is not what people wished for.

According to Odd Stuff Magazine’s website, one of the most famous cases of plastic surgery gone wrong happened to Hang Mioku, a South Korean woman, who became so addicted to plastic surgery that she was left unrecognisable after her obsession led her to inject cooking oil into her face.

She first had plastic surgery when she was 28. Continuing with operation after operation, her face was eventually left enlarged and disfigured, and the surgeons she visited refused to carry out any more work on her.

Many women are in favour of cosmetic surgery, but what do men think about it?

“Women who get plastic surgery seem fake, their beauty is not natural,” Chan Punler said.

His girlfriend showed interest in plastic surgery, but he decided against it because it could be hazardous to her in the future.

Punler said that he told his girlfriend: “I love the way you are now, no need to change it. I want you to be natural and safe.”

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