Cosmetic Surgery: The Search for Beauty


A woman gets a Botox injection
photo by thinkpanama via Flickr

What makes a person beautiful? Liz Waid and Bruce Gulland explore the world of cosmetic plastic surgery. Why does a person change his or her face or body?

Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2  

And I’m Bruce Gulland. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

Christina Lim sits in a hospital bed. Her face is very swollen. It is two times its normal size. She has blue and green bruises under her eyes. Her skin looks damaged. She is in terrible pain. She speaks, but it is difficult to understand her. Her mouth is too swollen for her to speak clearly. She told ABC News,

Voice 3  

“I cannot describe the pain. I keep feeling this knife cutting through my bones... All for beauty. All for what?”

Voice 2  

Lim is 20 years old. Doctors have performed an operation on her face. They changed her nose. They also made her face smaller. To do this, they had to cut off some of her jaw bone. The operation took many hours.

Voice 1  

Lim is experiencing horrible pain. But Lim did not need to have this operation, or surgery. Lim is one of the millions of people every year worldwide who choose to have cosmetic surgery. Today’s Spotlight is on the growing business of cosmetic surgery.

Voice 2  

Any medical operation where doctors have to cut into the skin to fix a part of the body is a surgery. In plastic surgery, doctors repair or re-make parts of the body or face. When people choose this kind of surgery for non-medical reasons, it is called cosmetic, or aesthetic, surgery. A person chooses this kind of surgery to change the way their body or face looks.

Voice 1  

Like any other surgery, cosmetic surgery involves risks. One of the most common is hematoma. It is blood that collects in the body. This can be very painful. It can lead to more surgery. Fluid can also collect in the body. This can lead to damage and sickness. Serious infection is another risk of cosmetic surgery. It happens to 2-4% of patients. Cosmetic surgery can also damage nerves in the body. For example, some women have cosmetic surgery to make their breasts larger. But they may lose feeling in the breasts after this surgery.

Voice 2  

A rare, but very dangerous risk of cosmetic surgery is getting a blood clot. Blood can become a partly solid mass, or clot. When the clot travels through the body, it can cause harm, and even death. Solange Magnano was the former Miss Argentina. In a famous case in 2009, she died from a blood clot after cosmetic surgery.

Voice 1  

Most people who get cosmetic surgery are women. But men get cosmetic surgery too. A little over 12% of all cosmetic surgery operations are for men. And the number of men getting cosmetic surgery grows every year. The number of both men and women getting cosmetic surgery is increasing in many places around the world.

Voice 2  

The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons reports that in 2014, there were over nine and a half million cosmetic surgery operations worldwide. Most of these operations happened in the United States, Brazil, Japan, South Korea and Mexico. There were also over ten and a half million non-surgical procedures. These include procedures like removing unwanted hair or injecting substances under the skin to remove wrinkles or make a body part larger.

Voice 1  

In the United States, one in every 20 women has had some kind of cosmetic surgery or procedure. But the country of South Korea has the highest rates of cosmetic surgery in the world. In South Korea, one in every five women has had cosmetic surgery.

Voice 2  

People from other countries also travel to South Korea to get cosmetic surgery. ABC News reports that more than seven million people have travelled to South Korea to get cosmetic surgery. From 2013 to 2014, the number of Chinese people travelling to South Korea for cosmetic surgery increased by 45%. But the number of cosmetic surgeries IN China is also increasing. One Chinese surgeon told the BBC,

Voice 4  

“There are now more than 300 private cosmetic surgery centres in Beijing. Back in the early 1990s there were none! The whole country is growing at the same speed.”

Voice 1  

The BBC interviewed a young woman getting cosmetic surgery in China. She said,

Voice 5  

“My family and friends do not know that I am having this surgery. I am getting my nose and chin done this time. I think they look OK but I want them to be perfect.”

Voice 2  

Remember Christina Lim, the woman at the beginning of the story? Lim is from South Korea. She did not really want to get surgery. However, she is a language translator. She has appeared on television to interpret Korean into English. She would like to continue this job. But people did not think she looked good enough to be on television. She even received critical messages on social media. She told ABC News,

Voice 3  

“I got lots of hate comments, like, ‘Why is she even on TV? Why is she so fat?”

Voice 1  

When Lim finished her surgery, she felt that she looked better. And she liked it. But she told ABC News,

Voice 3  

“If I were to talk to all my friends, I would tell them not to do it. If they do not have a problem living with their faces, I would tell them to get new friends who like their big faces.”

Voice 2  

Lim did not know if she felt good or bad about her surgery. She did not like that people use the same limited idea of beauty. If there is only one way to look beautiful, then everyone starts to look the same. Lim said,

Voice 3  

“In Korea, you go down the streets, and you see this girl. And you keep walking, and you see that girl again. But it is really a different person.”

Voice 1  

But one Chinese plastic surgeon has no bad feelings about cosmetic surgery. He believes that cosmetic surgery makes people more beautiful. He told the BBC,

Voice 4  

“The greatest thing about becoming more beautiful is happiness.”

Voice 2  

Do you agree? Does cosmetic surgery make people more beautiful? Does it make them happier? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 1  

The writer of this program was Jen Hawkins. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Cosmetic Surgery: The Search for Beauty’.

Voice 2  

You can also get our programs delivered directly to your Android or Apple device through our free official Spotlight English app. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Do you know anyone who has had plastic surgery? Were they happy with their decision? Would you ever get cosmetic plastic surgery?

Comments


Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on October 03, 2016

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To: spotlight programme
Subject: answer to the questions above
Date: Monday 03, October 2016
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Liz Waid, Jen Hawkins, Bruce Gulland, and Michio Ozaki:

At first, I want to thank you to bring us readers and learners of English more one great article. Thanks!

Yes, I do. If a woman or a man does not feel comfortable with her or his appearance, that person should see a doctor to get a cosmetic surgery to feel happier.
Yes, It does. A cosmetic surgery solves 100% of the appearance problems. So, the patient who did any type of cosmetic surgery will be very happy with the result. But, the cosmetic surgery has a limit to do it.
Yes, I do. I have many co-workers (women) who have had a plastic surgery. So, they were happy with their decision and new appearance.
No, I would not. But, I agree with a person who decides to do a cosmetic plastic surgery to feel better. Therefore, I prefer to go to the Gym to exercise my body, to eat in the correct way, to sleep very well, to study at home, and to keep healthy thoughts in my mind.

The best regards,
Severino Ramos
Brazil

Avatar Spotlight
Dela
said on October 06, 2016

In my opinion, concerning the cosmetic plastic surgery there two people groups exist. First group includes young people (primarily girls) who owing to any small or bigger physical malformation of their appearance suffer from sadness, shyness and even the serious deep depression subsequently, they cannot join successfuly the community of other young people around them.
Women beginning to grow older represent the second group, they want to ‘‘prolong’’ their youthfulness at least a little, they need to feel more confident.
If the plastic surgery is performed with high proficiency, it will bring the excellent results undoubtedly.
At all events the correct successful cosmetic plastic surgery has always the positive psychological impact against the state of human mind because it help them feel satisfied, happier and confident as well!
If I felt the necessity of plastic surgery I would get it without hesitation!
Thanks Spotlight for interesting topic!
Greetings!