Plastic surgery—just like shopping, gambling, and sex—has become a lifestyle addiction among housewives. Similarly to symptoms of other addictions, people addicted to plastic surgery develop tolerances and seek stimuli and show withdrawal symptoms when they find themselves restrained.

“One of my patients had already undergone nose surgery as many as six times at another hospital but came to our clinic for her seventh,” says a plastic surgeon who owns an aesthetic surgery clinic in Ilsan, Korea. In most cases, according to the plastic surgeon, the addiction starts with a simple desire to look better. But after one or two operations, patients find that they want to go on and on. Individuals who feel insecure because of their looks have a higher chance of developing a plastic surgery addiction.

The number of housewives to undergo plastic surgery has risen significantly over the last couple of years. A few years ago in Ilsan, which has a high concentration of middle-class households, there were three plastic surgery clinics. Now there are 10, all of which have had substantial patient growth. The same is true in Bundang near Seoul.

According to another plastic surgeon, the core customer base is housewives in their mid- to late 30s who are economically comfortable and have become dissatisfied with their looks.

[english.chosun.com, September 4, 2006]