plastic surgeryMany people dream of free plastic surgery, and if you live in Brazil, this dream has the potential to become a reality. Performing more than 11.5 million procedures annually, Brazil represents one of the largest plastic surgery consumer markets in the world. To many Brazilians, beauty is a right that should not be reserved solely for moneyed elites, prompting more than 200 clinics across Brazil to offer free cosmetic procedures to the less fortunate.

In a country still greatly affected by extreme poverty, free Botox injections, laser hair removal and other cosmetic procedures might seem gratuitous, but not according to Dr. Nelson Rosas of The Brazilian Society of Aesthetic Medicine in Rio de Janeiro.

“What’s a wrinkle? Something minor, right? Something with precious little importance, but when we treat the wrinkle, that unimportant little thing, we’re actually treating something very important – the patient’s self-esteem.”

The Brazilian government is also involved in the allocation of free or discounted plastic surgery procedures. State-funded health care covers the cost of several surgeries to repair congenital deformities, as well as reconstructive procedures following injury. The senate is also considering covering the full cost of breast reconstruction after cancer.

While plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures may improve self-esteem, many experts worry that free or discounted procedures coerce patients into procedures and surgeries without weighing the actual risks versus benefits. Free or discounted surgeries are often performed by young doctors looking to refine their skills.

“The word ‘beauty’ in Brazil kind of obscures the fact that you’re talking about real surgery,” Alexander Edmonds, an anthropology professor at the University of Amsterdam and author of “Pretty Modern: Beauty, Sex and Plastic Surgery in Brazil.” “The problems and risks of surgery are often minimized, and these operations tend to be seen like a ‘beautification’ like any other, which of course they’re not.”

Risky or not, long lines of low-income Brazilians form every year outside of hospitals eager to apply for free or discounted plastic surgery. Once approved, individuals may wait several months, or even years before undergoing their procedure.

Learn more about plastic surgery in Detroit.

Source: The Washington Times

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