Chinese Plastic Surgery History

Chinese plastic surgery is proving a hit among urbanites in Beijing and Shanghai, where numerous clinics promising dramatic transformations can be found. Plastic surgeons in China have capitalised on growing demand, making plastic surgery an affordable option for many of China’s estimated 1.35 billion residents.

Impressive Chinese plastic surgery results are regularly featured in the online press, indicating how cosmetic medicine has become a normal pursuit for China’s formerly conservative-minded citizens. Arguably a by-product of the rise of consumerism from the late 1990s onwards, Chinese plastic surgery patients are pursuing aesthetic improvements due to a higher standard of living together with more disposable income. From businessmen looking to boost their careers to women trying to land a husband, it seems that Chinese people of all ages are turning to plastic surgery.

History of Chinese plastic surgery

Back in the 1980s, Chinese people weren’t particularly enthralled by the idea of plastic surgery. Fast forward to 2003, when the story of LuLu Hao’s plastic surgery hit the international media. Her physical transformation ushered in a new wave of Chinese cosmetic surgery clinics, coupled with the heavy advertising and promotion of surgical procedures. Along with economic factors, this led to a growing number of ordinary people pursuing plastic surgery.

LuLu Hao Chinese Plastic Surgery

LuLu Hao before and after plastic surgery (source)

Miss Artifical Beauty pageant

This Chinese beauty pageant exclusively admits candidates who have previously undergone plastic surgery. The idea for the pageant was born when organizers unceremoniously dumped 18 year old Yang Yuan from the Miss International Beauty pageant for having had almost $18,000 worth of surgery prior to entering the competition. The pagent has been running since 2004, and accepts women and transgender contestants up to and including the age of 62.

chinese plastic surgery pageant

Miss Artificial Beauty 2014 in China (source)

Chinese medical industry

Guangdong factories have been producing much of the world’s medical equipment for years; breast implants, CT scanners and diagnostic machinery are manufactured in southern China and shipped to distributors around the world. Getting plastic surgery in China means that import costs for medical equipment and materials are automatically mitigated, and it is therefore possible to undergo breast implant surgery in China for just $1500-$2000 USD, compared to the average $12,000 or so price tag for the same surgery in Singapore. Like Japan, however, it seems that South Korea has become something of a hotspot for young Chinese medical tourists, whose transformations are so convincing that they find it difficult to get past airport security at home.

Botched plastic surgery China

Back home, possibly as a result of the high demand for cosmetic procedures, there have been several reported ‘horror stories’ in the Chinese media. Back room beauty clinics inject unapproved substances such as silicone and hydrophilic polyacrimide, which can lead to permanent disfigurement together with other heath side effects. It is therefore wise to ensure that your Chinese practitioner is accredited by the Oriental Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, and that the substance being injected is both legitimate and legal.

botched chinese plastic surgery

28 year old Xiaolian, who underwent black market fillers as a teenager (source)


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