Which Country Is Taking the Gold for the Most Plastic Surgery?

K. Mathews on 26 Jul 2012 at 5:00pm


Don’t look now, but the United States may be losing its reputation as the nation most obsessed with plastic surgery. Sure, the United States still has the most cosmetic procedures performed overall, but when you account for the population size of each country, the USA only ranks #6. 

South Korea is actually now the king of cosmetic procedures, according to an Economist graph. As ABC News reports, 20% of women who live in the capital city, Seoul, have had a surgery of some sort. Blepharoplasty, AKA eyelid surgery, is a particularly popular procedure amongst South Koreans who want eyes that look more Western.

Greece finished in second place, which comes as quite a surprise considering that nations with struggling economies are not usually as receptive to elective surgeries. Nonetheless, breast implants remain popular in the country and keep the industry thriving. Also of note, on average, Greece had ten times the number of penis enlargement surgeries as other countries… I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on that one!

Botox injections helped boost Italy to #3, just enough to edge out Brazil at #4. Brazil’s position toward the top of the list can be expected thanks to the country’s numerous tax breaks that make cosmetic surgery not only aesthetically, but also financially appealing.

Interestingly, it’s the South American countries like Brazil, Columbia (#5), Venezuela (#12), and Argentina (#19) that have the biggest percentage of invasive surgeries. While non-invasive procedures account for roughly half of the total procedures in other continents, the majority of South American procedures are surgical. This difference indicates that going under the knife is more culturally acceptable in South America.


Photo Credit: Olympic photo by David W. Carmichael, Graph from The Economist

Comments (3)

How is Iran not rated here?
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This is really shocking and exciting study. I was thinking that there is only in USA the most of the plastic surgeries are happening but this study makes me to think that we people are really caring about our body and there is also a factor that in south Koria there must be a skin problems and hence the people choose this option.

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There's nothing wrong with their skins. Korea actually take very good care of their skins. Korean skin products are actually very good and don't have much chemicals. They popularize bb creams, a type of tinted moisturizer make up that actually improve your skin. Even men wear those bb cream. It's like that because the society put way too much emphasis on appearances. Korean only have one ideal look, V-line (pointed chin with small jaw), double eyelids, pale skin, long small and defined nose, small face. Anyone that don't look like that are consider ugly. Surgeries to shave their jaws using the bimaxillary procedure to get the "dongan" look or small baby face is very popular. Look at the contestants for the 2013 Miss Korean, they look like they could be related. In the rich areas like Gangnam or Seoul, there are many korean girls getting surgeries or even highschoolers getting gift certificates from their parents when they graduate college to get surgeries.
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