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?!

More Junk Food For the Brain

Until I intern next…more junk food to rot your brain!

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Well, hey, my arm hurts, too, but I’M not complaining. Sissy.

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If I were that doctor…

Yeah, that would be me.

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Ah. The intricacies of the modern world.

The Infamous Doctor’s Handwriting

The Infamous Doctor's Handwriting

Does being a doctor ruin your handwriting…or do people with bad handwriting tend to become doctors?

Mind explosion.

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.

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!

So. I almost fainted.

The clinic’s closed today, so I thought I’d do some more recap.

As you probably already learned from the title, I almost fainted a few weeks ago! Go me!

There was one guy who had gotten an otoplasty surgery (the same guy I talked about a couple posts ago). Let’s call him Tim.

So, Tim came in for a post-op appointment, and Dr. Lee removed the bindings around his ear to inspect it. The ear looked…it was…um…less than pleasant. It was very pink and fleshy and a bit gross-looking. But I guess that’s how it was supposed to look, considering, you know, it was recently attacked by needles.

I looked on as Dr.Lee checked Tim’s left ear, lifting it a little to look behind.

Tim began bleeding. A lot.

I passed needles and such to Dr. Lee as he asked for them, but all I could really see was Tim and the blood. He was grimacing in pain and blood kept on dripping down.

I began to feel sick to my stomach. He wasn’t supposed to bleed this much, right? There was something wrong with him, right? RIGHT?!

The room became smaller and smaller. I felt strange, like all the blood in my body was rushing to my head. The room began spinning.

Seriously. If I didn’t get out of there pronto, this was going to be me:

Maddi at her finest.

No exaggeration, there. I really felt like I was going to faint.

Like any self-respecting teenager, I said that I had to go the bathroom and hightailed it out of there.

Unfortunately, getting out of the room didn’t help me at all. I stumbled down the hallway and into the bathroom, but the bathroom was dark.  I couldn’t even find the light switch, so I just ended up getting really confused. Groping the walls, I made it back down the hallway.

The nurse, Sharon, finally found me and sat me down with a cup of water before I ended up hurting somebody. It probably looked like this:

But in my mind, it looked more like this:

I swear I could’ve cried in relief. I’d never really felt that way before, so it was a surprisingly scary experience. It was one of the first times I ever felt so out of control of my body. My mind had been completely sound, but my body clumsy and jelly-like.

Fortunately, sitting down and drinking the water helped me considerably. The nausea left my head, leaving it cold and tingling

Meanwhile, Dr. Lee and Sharon had to do an emergency surgery on Tim because something was wrong with his left ear, making it bleed so profusely.

Tim (and I) ended up being perfectly fine. I didn’t faint, and Tim’s surgery went without difficulty. Tim seems to be enjoying his results.

Dr. Lee reassured me later on that feeling lightheaded is perfectly normal. It’s actually the body’s reaction to seeing blood. Even he used to feel that way, but becoming a surgeon desensitized him to it.

Thank God. If I stayed like that forever, I could never be a surgeon. I’d faint on top of my patients in the middle of some life-changing surgery.

It’s nice that Dr. Lee and Sharon are so supportive, though. Imagine if Dr. Lee wasn’t so understanding.

Thank God, Donald Trump isn’t my boss.

Unless.

Unless Dr. Lee is Donald Trump.

Plot twist.

My Name Tag

My Name Tag

Dr. Lee provides all his employees with these lovely name tags, and he got me one, too.

It makes me feel all professional-like 😉

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!