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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The bigger, the better?

The bigger, the better?

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Teens today are fond of make-up and dressing in a sexy way to attract others –  another trend as the Kingdom opens its gates to new cultures, East and West.

Many young Cambodians feel inadequate with their natural looks knowing that there are alternatives, and look towards expensive products and plastic surgery to enhance their appearance and chase what they believe is “beautiful”.

According to an article published in the Post Khmer on January 20, Cambodian superstars and idols are flocking to Thailand for breast implants.

This handful of celebrities is choosing surgery for bigger breasts, which they believe will lead to more fame.

Kol Davy, a famous actress, confessed that she, too, travelled to Thailand for a breast augmentation.

And now, these female stars are concerned for their health – new studies reveal that breast implants can lead to cancer and other diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.

It’s not only the girls flocking towards the plastic surgeon’s office, either.

Hor Seang Hai, an 18-year-old boy from Banteay Meanchey province, spent US$3,000 on a breast augmentation.

“I got the operation because I think it will attract people to admire my beauty. I want to be as beautiful as women are, and I want to please [others] as ordinary women do,” he said.

Although it’s been a year since his surgery, Hor Seang Hai cannot see any visible changes to his body.

On top of that, he’s been feeling sick and in bad health.

“At first, I was concerned about my health,” he said.

“I don’t know what diseases I will face in the future.”

Of course, some young Cambodians feel strongly against these kinds of beauty procedures.

Tea Malinet, an 18-year-old high-school student in Phnom Penh, says health comes first.

“No matter how much money I have, I would never do this [surgery] because I’m concerned about my health,” she said.

“Beauty is important, but health is more important.”

Bon Darakhontea, a 21-year-old student at University Health Science, said that the impact breast implants will have on people’s health in the future is not worth the beauty.

He added that side effects of implants range from simple ailments, such as headaches and swelling, to grave illnesses, such as terminal cancer.

But many doctors disagree.

“As long as plastic surgery is done properly and professionally, it is not bad for people,” said Dr Chan Seiha, a medical director at Pearl Medical Centre.

He added that every type of plastic surgery has its own side effects and that those effects depend on the surgeon.

He advised that those interested in plastic surgery have a thorough consultation with a professional and skilled plastic surgeon.

Dr Chan Seiha emphasised that everyone needs to take three things into account: the professionalism of the surgeon, the quality of the hospital and the material of the implant.

In the battle of beauty of health, making an informed decision is key.

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