You have come to admire the curvaceous, and not always 100% natural, body of your Brazilian friends? My Little Brasil explains the background of the cosmetic surgery market, a real phenomenon in Brazilian society!
Brazil, world leader in cosmetic surgery
In 2013 Brazil became the country where the most inhabitants received cosmetic surgery operations in the world, surpassing for the first time the United States, with 1.5 million operations performed in Brazilian clinics.
This high number of plastic surgery operations in Brazil (close to 40 000 more than in the USA) could be explained by the flexibility of payment, with credits issued over several years, and also because Brazilian plastic surgeons are very competent and well renowned.
The most common surgeries are breast augmentation or reduction (mammoplasty), liposuction, eyelifts, corrective ear surgery, and mostly rhinoplasty (nose jobs) with more than 77 000 procedures in 2013! Among products used, Botox is very common.
In the most famous Brazilian clinics, one simple operation can cost up to R$30 000 (around $10 000)! In Brazil, the economic crisis seemed to spare cosmetic surgery.
Cosmetic surgery, a practice rooted in Brazilian morals
Today’s modern techniques allow people to recover in only 3 to 5 days after a cosmetic surgery operation. The procedures are less heavy, which democratizes the practice. Also, the budget has become less of a concern in the decision making process since most clinics allow payments in installments.
In Brazil, getting an operation is a completely moral act to the point where it has become a commonality, like going to the movies or playing a sport. It is also happening more frequently where young girls are asking for breast implants for their 15th birthday. However common this has become, they have to consider the risks, however minimum, of each operation.
Cosmetic surgery has become routine in big cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, partly because of the large socio-economic differences as well as the culture of the country. It concerns mainly the wealthier segments of the population and is influenced by the power of the media and the Americanization of the culture. Nonetheless, undergoing a physical transformation has become a sign of richness in the lower classes.
Younger and younger Brazilians are undergoing cosmetic surgery operations
The practice is not without risk for adolescents, whose growth hasn’t finished yet and are increasingly likely to undergo a procedure.
Sometimes a surgeon may think that an operation is justified in certain cases (correction of ears or a breast reduction to avoid back problems), but many unnecessary operations are performed on people that are too young and they could be very dangerous. Several studies show that young Brazilians have a tendency to give up physical exercises and see surgery as the better solution.
The results of a plastic surgeryoperation are never guaranteed, as shown by the recent case of a Brazilian surgeon who was required to pay lots of damages to a patient whose face was disfigured after a failed operation. This case re-launched the debate about the lack of regulation in this industry, which is minimal to the extent where any surgeon can perform a cosmetic operation without being specialized in it!