The Korean beauty industry is known to be one of the most profitable industries in the world, coming in at a $6 billion in profit and rising. This emphasis on beauty stretches from rigorous multi-step skin care regimes to top-notch make-up that follows all the trends, and also often extends to plastic surgery.
In this video by YouTuber Renée, she details the the many instances of malpractice she witnessed during her time in the industry as an interpreter for foreign clients at a large plastic surgery hospital, in Gangnam, Seoul.
1. Shadow Doctors
The first incident she reveals is the phenomenon of “shadow doctors” in the industry. In this incident, one of the clients of the hospital was a Vietnamese woman, who had gotten a rhinoplasty (nose job) more than 3 times, and so her entire nose bridge had collapsed because of the stress of having implants repeatedly inserted and removed.
She then says that the consultant and her wished the best for the woman, hoping that it would be her last surgery. the woman was desperate too, and so she booked the head doctor, who was the most experienced and expensive doctor in the hospital.
She needed a reconstruction rather than cosmetic surgery. The consultant and I (who interpreted the conversation) really wished the best for her, and hoped that this would be her last surgery. She was desperate too, so she chose the head doctor who is the most expensive among all the specialists in the hospital.
She then revealed that the woman paid him before the surgery itself. After the surgery, Renée approached the doctor in the elevator to tell him that the woman was responding to post-op care well, and that she was doing fine. Upon telling him that, however, the doctor just looked at her like he had no idea what she was talking about.
It turns out that the head doctor actually never conducted the surgery; instead, a younger, inexperienced doctor in need of practice took over as soon as the woman went under general anesthesia.
These “shadow doctors” take over for older doctors who are tired and don’t want to perform surgery everyday, but can’t risk losing the large amounts of money. They dupe the patients and gamble their lives by using doctors with less credibility, and also, do all of this without consent.
2. Eyelid Surgery
The next incident Renée narrates is about a certain woman’s double-eyelid surgery that went awry. The woman was Australian, and Renée and her became fast friends. The woman got her eyes and nose done, and a week later, came back to the hospital for post-op consultation.
Upon meeting the doctor, she complained of a few wrinkles in the inner corner of her eyes, and asked if there was a problem. The doctor responded that it was just swelling, and it would disappear in a little while. Renée heard it just like that, so she interpreted it just like that. But when the woman left, it turned out to be a different story entirely.
After the patient left the room, I saw him looking at the post-op pictures like this:
And I knew it was bad sign. I was waiting for him to say something.
Finally, he said “She will lose her double lids”.
I hated him for making me a liar too.
She then reveals that patients usually don’t know anything abut the condition of their doctors because they’re under anesthesia. So they definitely would not hear their doctor’s bemoaning about drinking too much the night before, and then cutting into a patient’s eyelids while extremely hungover.
3. Face-Contouring, Breast Augmentation, And A Discount Doctor
The third and last incident Renée shares is about a face-contouring procedure. She reveals that one cannot avoid skin-sagging post face-contouring surgery, because the jaw and cheekbones hold up the muscles and fat on the face. When they’re removed , everything becomes looser because the foundation on which it rested is gone, and so skin-sagging becomes inevitable.
One of the clients had gotten her jaw done, and she suffered from so much skin-sagging that she had to get routine thread-lifts to her face, just so she could look normal.
Another incident involves a new doctor who just joined the hospital, and said that he specializes in not only face-contouring, but also beats augmentation. She reveals that he was extremely insistent on performing breast augmentations at his new job at the hospital, but had no credible examples about his skills to show potential clients.
Renée the reveals that he would try to attract clients by asking female staff members to volunteer to model for him as fake patients, guaranteeing them anonymity if they helped him in his schemes. When all the female staff shot him down, he began to repeatedly offer 30-50% discounts on boob jobs. When foreigners showed interest in the discount and enquired about the generosity, the hospital asked staff to lie to them, saying,
He just joined us [the hospital], and for the sake of celebration, he gave a generous discount.
One day, a patient arrived at the hospital, on whom this doctor had performed breast augmentation surgery at his previous job. She had come for a revision surgery, because there was so much inflammation in her breasts, and after the revision surgery, Renée tells viewers that she will never forget the amount of pain the woman was in.
She wraps up the video by saying that due to plastic surgery being thrown a positive light in the media, no one really knows how bad it can get. As a former industry insider, however, she knows firsthand how bad it can be, and so, is warning everybody out there to be careful.
You can watch the video here.