Provokator - 17 Jun 2007
Mention the words “plastic surgery” to a friend or colleague, and they’re likely to expect you to launch into a conversation about Hollywood, the latest paparazzi reports and debates about your favorite celebrities.
These days, however, it isn’t just Joan Rivers who wants to have work done: it’s our neighbors, our university professors and even our parents who are researching surgeons in an effort to turn back the clock and boost their self-esteem. Certainly the effects of plastic surgery have extended beyond Tinseltown for some time – and in recent years, the Czech Republic has been a haven for people seeking surgical work. The trend continues to grow annually, with many agencies offering multi-day “plastic surgery” packages for foreigners.
According to Tamara Ždiňáková, Managing Director of Beauty in Prague, the Czech Republic has become attractive for Western Europeans seeking plastic surgery for half or less of what the same procedure would cost in their native country.
“The main reason why people choose to come to Prague for surgery is the affordable price,” says Ždiňáková .“Also, people don’t want their neighborhood to know that they have had plastic surgery. They just want to be perceived as beautiful people.”
The average client will stay in the country – usually in Prague or Brno – for a total of 10 days for the entire procedure. Although she cannot disclose names due to confidentiality purposes, Ždiňáková’s firm’s clientele include British soap opera actors and the wife of a guitarist from a popular rock band.
Plastic surgery is far from a new trend in the Czech Republic. In fact, the country was home to the first licensed plastic surgeons in the world. Czech professor František Burian is often considered the “founder” of modern-day plastic surgery, having established the first Czech Chair of Plastic Surgery at Charles University in 1938.
Although women make up the majority of plastic surgery clients, an increasing number of men are also requesting treatment, Ždiňáková says. While breast surgery remains the most common procedure for women (including enlargements, reductions and uplifts), it’s rhinoplasty, a.k.a. nosejobs, that’s in high demand from men. Liposuction, face and neck lifts and eyelid surgery are popular among both genders.
Czech plastic surgeons must pass through a series of strict regulations before they can become licensed, a more difficult procedure here than in many Western cities. To perform surgical procedures, prospective plastic surgeons must obtain a medical degree and complete eight years of hands-on practice, and then pass an exam for the attestation certificate in plastic surgery, which is not necessary in many Western countries. And that’s just to apply for a plastic surgeon’s license.
While travel may seem like a lot of work just for a facelift, continued media pressure ensures that plastic surgery’s popularity will continue to surge – and with it, the Czech market for these procedures, Ždiňáková says.
Vaginal rejuvenation is becoming increasingly popular among Beauty in Prague’s female clients, Ždiňáková says. Occasionally booked along with another procedure such as a tummy tuck, labia reductions are sought after post-pregnancy, when many women experience loosened vaginal muscles. The hymen repair procedure is often done for cultural and religious reasons. Non-Muslim women often look to “reclaim” their virginity if they marry into an Islamic family, she says.
With new advances in procedures and technology, it's impossible to predict where plastic surgery will take us next. Although Juan Ponce de Leon never discovered the legendary Fountain of Youth, for many plastic surgery clients, a so-called „holiday“ in the Czech Republic may be an adequate substitute.
by Curtis M. Wong, Provokator.org
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