About 3 million people in China had plastic surgery last year, according to an official estimate. China ranks third in the world behind the United States and Brazil for the number of plastic surgeries performed, according to industry officials.
But one expert here in Shanghai calls the 3 million figure “conservative.” Li Qingfeng, a plastic surgeon who is also deputy secretary of the Chinese Association of Plastics and Aesthetics, said his hospital alone receives about 100,000 patients each year, and all of Shanghai could receive as many as 300,000 yearly.
“Most of the people don’t have surgery at officially regulated hospitals,” with many patients going to beauty salons or other unregulated facilities – “and the number is huge,” Li said.
While government-run hospitals adhere to stricter standards with more experienced doctors, the same can’t be said of these “black hospitals” and other private facilities, several experts said. “Those private ones make operations secretly, some of the surgeons lack ethics and their only aim is making money,” said Zhou Xiaolin, retired chief surgeon of Beijing’s Plastic Surgery Hospital.