The city has recently become a center of cosmetic surgery in Vietnam, with an average of 100,000 cases each year at licensed clinics, according to the Ho Chi Minh City Society of Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery. 10,000 of these cases are silicone breast implant surgeries.
Around 20-25 percent of customers are expats and foreigners, while the rest are locals from across the nation.
Customers are both men and women. Favored services for women include breast lifting or enhancing, face and neck skin smoothing, and nose, eyelid, and dimpled cheek surgery. Men prefer double eyelid and eyebrow surgery and facial skin smoothing.
Also popular with men are surgeries that produce wider chests and muscular, athletic-looking stomachs.
Licensed cosmetic clinics
Ho Chi Minh City has dozens of cosmetic clinics that are licensed to perform most services to meet the increasing demand of customers.
The anesthetic plastic and cosmetic department of Cho Ray Hospital received over 2,500 customers in the first nine months of this year for both consultations and surgeries.
However, surgeons there only agreed to offer surgeries for 654 customers. The gap was not due to technical or equipment troubles, but the ‘excessive’ demands of customers. Unlike illegal cosmetic centers, Cho Ray surgeons offer professional consultations.
Doctor Do Quang Hung of Cho Ray said that customers’ safety is always respected and his clinic takes more time and care on tests than private centers do.
But most customers prefer to be operated on as soon as possible, he added.
Customers aged 40-50, who often have high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes, are at higher risk of complications during surgery if necessary tests are not performed accurately before a surgery.
The burn department of Trung Vuong Hospital receives 2,000 to 3,000 patients a year for consultations for anesthetic plastic and cosmetic surgery.
Other hospitals licensed for cosmetic surgery services in Ho Chi Minh City include Medicine University Hospital, Nguyen Tri Phuong, Eyes Hospital, Phu Nhuan, An Sinh, Trieu An, Van Hanh, STO Phuong Dong, and Hong Duc.
Clinics that specialize in cosmetic surgery include Thanh Van, Ngoc Phu, Saigon, and Hiep Loi.
Surgeon Cao Ngoc Bich, vice head of the HCMC Society of Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery, said that only 20 percent of customers are knowledgeable and clearly know what they need to ‘improve’ while the remaining misunderstand cosmetic surgery as a ‘magic wand’ that will transform them into a new person.
Many of them told surgeons that they wish to change their appearance to look like their idols, like a specific cinema star or a model, or just to look Korean or Japanese.
80 percent of customers are prone to fall for false advertisements by cosmetic clinics, and in doing so, risk their health and natural beauty.
Surgeons are afraid of receiving customers who have ‘no limit’ to the number of operations they will undergo because they wish to look better than anyone else.
These people are willing to undergo multiple surgeries but they don’t know that it may cost them their charm and natural beauty forever, said Bich.
Many women who are small in stature insist on getting large silicone gel implants in their breasts because they think of beauty only, not the longtime risks such implants could inflict on their spines.
Bich added that an athletic body with a wide, firm chest and a stomach with six muscular sections, produced by cosmetic surgery, will normally last for only around six months.