Went to the Plastic Surgery Capital of the World…

…Seoul, Korea!

Sorry for the long hiatus. I was on vacation.

I wasn’t just goofing off, though, mind you.

(Though Taylor Lautner can goof off as much as he wants. We’ll all just sit here and stare.)

I was looking out for signs of plastic surgery since, as pointed out by the title of this post, Seoul is the plastic surgery capital of the world…It was pretty obvious because, well…

There were literally advertisements everywhere: before and after pics of plastic surgery patients at various clinics, boasting slogans like, “Everyone has done it except you.”

I took pictures of some of the drastic ones because, well, it’s interesting. There’s a whole culture revolving around plastic surgery in Korea. People get it as birthday gifts or graduation presents. 1 in 5 women in Seoul has gotten plastic surgery (though many procedures are limited to minor tweaks like the double-eyelid surgery). The double eyelid surgery, in turn, is viewed as many Americans view ear piercings.

In a country where beauty lands you jobs and gives you a competitive edge, plastic surgery is an essential part of many Koreans’ lives.

Look at these pics…

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Crazy, right?

Though I have nothing against plastic surgery, there’s one thing with this whole phenomenon that really bothers me.

Take a look at all the “after” photos.

Big, round eyes. Tall, small, narrow nose. White skin. Smooth jawline and sharp chin. Small face.

Don’t all the girls look kinda…similar? I think plastic surgery can definitely be used to enhance your features, but in some cases, it seems to be turning many young girls into clones.

Pretty clones, I guess. But they’re still clones.

It doesn’t have to be this way, but it seems like everyone wants to look a certain way. These features have come to represent what it means to be beautiful in Korea. Most of the popular K-Pop stars and K-drama actors and actresses tend to have similar features, and it’s no wonder.

Many of them are getting plastic surgery in similar ways (why, some even have the same plastic surgeon!), thus producing almost identical faces. Of course, there are differences from face to face, but the overall appearance is strikingly similar.

Sure, many countries have this problem, a standard of beauty that everyone strives to fulfill. In other countries, however, I feel like the problem isn’t so severe. Or, at least, not in America. In America, there are various types of looks that one would consider beautiful.

There is the sexy-puffy-lips-sultry-eyes look of Angelina Jolie, or the girl-next-door look of Jennifer Aniston and Blake Lively. There is the hourglass figure of Sofia Vergara, the fuller figures of stars like Queen Latifah and Kim Kardashian,  and the twiggy, boyish bodies of actresses like Nicole Kidman and Kate Hudson.

In Korea, the standard of beauty seems much narrower and much more marginalized.

With such high plastic surgery rates within the Seoul population, people will definitely start to look similar.

And no, I’m not being racist. Koreans do not “all look alike” naturally, but if they get plastic surgery to look like a K-Pop star or an actress or one of those ads in the subway stations, they’re certainly bound to.

I support plastic surgery, but when people end up looking like clones, it saddens me.

It’s one thing to make yourself look better. It’s another thing entirely to change your face so completely that you look nothing like yourself and have transformed into an Asian barbie doll.

After all, if we are all beautiful, then what’s the point of being beautiful in the first place?

Clone-like Miss Korea 2013 Contestants (from KoreaBang.com)

Crazy Medical Mysteries

Since the clinic is closed this weekend, I’ll post some crazy stuff instead.

Everyone’s heard of medical mysteries– medical cases which have no known scientific explanation. Cases which, frankly, almost seem to come from some other world.

Watch these videos– they’ll blow your mind away.

The boy who can’t eat food…

 

The girl who hasn’t aged…

 

After having a stroke, these people have been turned into modern-day Picasso’s!

 

Pretty strange and gruesome…But interesting, surprisingly! What does that say about me?!

Two words: Boob Job.

God, I haven’t posted in two weeks!

Two. Weeks.

I was crazy busy, since certain high school teachers like to cram exams before spring break starts. Oof. At least I’m finally on break!

Now, back to business. Last week was actually really cool. I entered the clinic and shadowed a few botox treatments, but things didn’t really get interesting until the very end.

A woman came in who had just recently gotten a boob job.

Boob jobs are very common here in ‘Murica. In fact, they’re the second most common type of plastic surgery, coming in at over 300,000 surgeries a year. That’s crazy.

In Asian countries, boob jobs aren’t as common, but they still occur in significant numbers.

I’d never really seen the aftermath of a fresh boob job. I guess I thought it would be a lot cleaner than the other procedures– maybe with some small stitches, all neatly sewn in and complete.

Well.

It was a lot messier than that. The chest was bound tightly, and a couple drains were attached, collecting blood. The patient was in a little pain, too, but I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything else since  she kind of just had surgery.

Dr. Lee was calm and professional throughout the check-up, which was a good thing because I wasn’t exactly calm and professional.

I still have to get used to the immediate aftermath of surgery, or risk being mistaken for a deer in headlights for the rest of my life.

Anyways, despite the messiness, the procedure actually produced great results. Dr. Lee checked up on the condition of the breasts, removed the drainage bags, made sure they were positioned and were developing correctly, and the check-up was complete.

Unfortunately, the patient could hardly move her arms! I helped her get re-dressed and she left the clinic all intact. Woo-hoo! Point one for Maddi.

It’s great how much I’m learning from this internship. I seriously can’t wait until I can watch an actual surgery live in action.

You know, as long as I don’t throw up.

Or almost faint.

Like last time.

Well, hey, I’m getting there! No nausea or sickness from seeing the blood this time. The desensitization must be beginning.

I deserve a special sticker.

Lipo, Ultrasounds, and Tiny Waists

Another week, another day at the clinic!

It wasn’t as busy today, but there were a lot of interesting cases.

One woman who recently had liposuction came into the clinic. She had fat removed around her waist and thighs, but the results were crazy. Seriously. When she showed us her waist, I was, like:

WHAT. It was pretty crazy. In this case, the patient was very fit, but couldn’t get rid of the fat on her stomach no matter how much she worked out. This is probably the ideal situation for someone to get lipo. I think there’s a common misconception that you should get lipo just to lose weight. But, seriously, if you can lose weight without lipo, go on a diet. Defeat the lure of the cookies.

Anyways! That same woman was here to also get an ultrasound.

I know what you’re thinking.

But, um, no. She wasn’t pregnant! Considering she just got lipo, you know… That would be bad. The ultrasound was actually to get rid of any nodules that form after liposuction– like hard lumps that form under the skin.

She also got this laser treatment for her skin. Basically, a lot of people come in to get laser treatment– even if their skin isn’t bad. It’s to stimulate collagen production and make their skin look young for a longer time.  Not that Asians really age or anything,

I mean, seriously:

That 60-year old grandmother’s such a gangster, yo.

Hope I can see more interesting cases next week. Until then, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! May the leprechauns have mercy on your soul.

Is it Really So Wrong to Get Botox?

I finally got to intern again this Saturday!

I manned the front desk  for about half an hour, and I must say, I now have a newfound respect for all front-desk-workers around the world.

That stuff is STRESSFUL. Fun, but stressful.

Overall, it was mainly a pretty slow day. There were quite a few new patients coming in for consultations, several checkups, and a few botox/filler appointments.

One botox patient in particular was especially interesting. She mentioned how her daughter disapproved of her coming here. Tentatively, she asked me, “But I feel so much more confident after I come here. That’s not bad, is it?”

 

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I’m not ashamed to admit that I completely approved of her choice. Seriously, if I were in my sixties and a couple syringes being poked into my skin could make me look a decade younger, I would do it in a heartbeat. And I told her this.

In my opinion, this woman and thousands of others like her should not feel embarrassed to want to look younger.

As young people, I don’t think that many of us can even begin to understand their situation. To us, aging seems so far away. A wrinkle in time (no pun intended). How can we, who have never developed a wrinkle or seen our eyes droop, judge them in their pursuit to reclaim what was once theirs?

Everyone wants to feel pretty. Is it so wrong to do something about it?

No. Or, at least, not in my own mind.

I’ll probably devote an entire post to this whole stigma surrounding plastic surgery, so…expect more of that fun stuff later! Until then, enjoy the weekend and daylight savings!

Oof. Spring forward. Less sleep, and the worst time of the year (pun intended).

Junk Food for the Brain

I haven’t updated in a week! Not that I’ve given up on this blog or anything. The clinic was closed for a couple weeks, and this weekend, I had to go to National History Day, so I haven’t interned in a little while. Can’t wait to return next weekend, though!

Until then, here is some junk food for the brain:

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I just…can’t. It’s a kitten. In scrubs. He almost looks as cute in them as me! …ALMOST.

The Stethoscope of Mind-Readingness.

It is a very serious procedure, but in the end, you’ll look just like Casper.

Ah, the mousey toy. Things are getting intense.

I’ll update soon– hopefully with some news of the clinic!

I Should Be a Scrub Model

We should first start out with the awesome, so…I got scrubs! PINK scrubs. Pink, extremely comfortable, scrub-like scrubs. I wanted to take a pretty picture of myself in said scrubs, but they all turned out weird. Not like I took the photo shoot seriously or anything. Enjoy the insanity.

Don’t judge me.

Anyways, today’s day at the clinic was marvelous. I did the usual (preparing rooms, bringing patients to the rooms, making them comfortable), and I shadowed a few of Dr. Lee’s appointments.

One man got an otoplasty recently, and Dr. Lee had to remove a scar which had formed in his ear. He is going to perform a skin graft on him later this week, removing skin from the back of the ear to the area the scar had once covered.

Obviously, the patient had some concerns like whether the graft would be noticeable, but Dr. Lee handled it well. I’m really excited to see the results of the procedure.

I’ve never seen a skin graft, so I’m curious as to whether it really is unnoticeable, as Dr. Lee claimed.

Other than that, the day was pretty laid back. Can’t wait to wear my scrubs go again next week!

Recap – The First Day

From now on, I’ll be updating every Saturday with fun and exciting internship stories…but until then, why not a little recap?

My very first day at Enhance Medical Center was definitely the most daunting. Sharon, the nurse, gave me a friendly tour of the clinic and started me on the “easy” stuff. Basically, I cleaned and set up rooms after each patient left, wrote thank you cards, and shadowed Dr. Lee.

The last one was definitely the most exciting.

I became quite amazing at cleaning rooms, if I do say so myself. Even though all I had to do was replace the disposable paper sheets on the chairs and make sure the counter was clear…hehe. The hardest part was ripping that annoying little roll of paper.

Ok. So, it’s not supposed to be that hard. I’m just not endowed with paper-ripping skills.

I wanted to bring up a picture of the paper chair liners to demonstrate, but Google brought me a picture of this. Like, a page filled with them:

Bad, Google. Bad boy.

They definitely didn’t make me rip those. But you get the idea.

Writing thank you notes was an easier, though tedious endeavor. I thought they were super sincere gestures; and although I wrote so many, I literally memorized the message word by word, they definitely gave me a good impression of the clinic.

Handwritten thank you cards? I mean, that’s pretty intense. I loved it.

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It’s classy, too.

The best part of it all was shadowing Dr. Lee. Honestly, before interning here, I had absolutely no idea how plastic surgery worked, how people looked after the procedure, etc. The workings of plastic surgery in my mind was merely a vague jumble of syringes and nose jobs and botox-crazy women on reality shows I never even watched.

That first time seeing someone right after plastic surgery popped my bubble. I guess I assumed everyone was super pretty and attractive as soon as they left the doctor the day of their surgery.

God. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I remember seeing a lady with a face so swollen I could hardly imagine what she actually looked like. Chipmunk cheeks pressing against puffy, red eyes, she smiled as Dr. Lee introduced me as his intern. I tried to maintain my composure, but inside my head, I was shocked.

This woman got plastic surgery? This is what people look like…afterwards? How does she even go around? How long until she looks…human? I was shocked. Not repulsed or revolted, just terribly surprised and terribly curious.

It’s funny how utterly clueless I was (and still am, I assure you). I had (…and still have) a lot to learn.

I returned home that day full of wonder and excitement. It sounds cheesy, but honestly, that’s the best way I can think of to describe my mood. If I could learn so much in just one day, I thought, how much could I learn in a week, a month, a year?

That tremulous excitement, more than anything, was how I knew just how perfect this job was for me.

More “Recap” coming soon!