According to the Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) health department, the burgeoning plastic surgery industry has grown rapidly with 53 licensed plastic surgeries in HCMC. Forty-five are specialized clinics and eight are hospitals offering plastic surgery services.

“Vietnamese plastic surgeons at the moment are able to carry out most types of plastic surgery offered elsewhere in the world like nose jobs, scar removal, breast implants, or liposuction,” says Tran Thi Anh Tu, MD, a plastic surgeon who practices at Dr.Tu Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Care Clinic in HCMC.

According to Tran Thi Anh Tu, the latest technology, including CT3, VBeam, and pixel laser skin tightening is available locally.

Recently Tu’s clinic hosted a training session offered by Israeli experts on Ultrashape Contour 1, a  fat-blasting technology which focuses ultra-sound beams. The session attracted attention from several local physicians.

According to Tu, Vietnamese plastic surgeons attend international conferences, train for international certificates, and work with foreign physicians.

Phan Van Nghiem, head of the HCMC Department of Health Medical Affairs, says the plastic surgery sector in Vietnam enjoys two major advantages.

“Vietnamese plastic surgeons are generally capable and devoted to their profession,” Phan Van Nghiem says. “Plastic surgery costs in Vietnam are also 70% lower than in developed plastic surgery markets like the US or Israel.”

In Vietnam, nose or eyelid surgery is $250 (US) and hair transplants cost up to $1,500 (US).

Currently, Thailand is leading other Southeast Asian countries in plastic surgery.

However, a former health official warnes that the plastic surgery sector in Vietnam faces some problems.

Nguyen The Dung, former head of HCMC Health, says that despite regular inspections from local health officials, many plastic surgery businesses are of questionable quality and operating without licenses.

In 2006, for instance, two female patients died after undergoing plastic surgery at unauthorized clinics in the city.

Dung says a major setback is the lack of punishment for violators. Currently, the penalty is only a warning.

[www.thanhniennews.com, November 24, 2007]