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