Venezuela popularly called as the country for the beautiful women ranks in the top three countries in the world for plastic surgery procedures per capita possible due to most experienced plastic surgeons in the world. According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery around 85,000 implants took place here in the last year.
Daniel Slobodianik, a surgeon commented, “It’s a culture of ‘I want to be more beautiful than you.’ That’s why even people who live in the slums get implants.”
The South American nation, popular for surgically enhanced women, is now seen facing a shortage of brand-name breast implants. The need of the hour made women and their doctors use the devices of wrong size or China manufactured, with comparatively poor quality standards. The Chinese pair cost equivalent is one-third of what a pair of implants approved by European regulators can cost (as much as $600).
“I’m not saying they’re not safe, but I’ve removed more than a few ruptured Chinese implants. I just don’t feel comfortable with them,” Slobodianik said.
Ramon Zapata, president of the Society of Plastic Surgeons said,”The women are complaining. “Venezuelan women are very concerned with their self-esteem.”
The socialist economic policies of the late President Hugo Chavez has led to the acute shortage caused due to the restrictive currency controls. Implants approved by the US FDA have disappeared.
In the scenario of lack of devices in doctors’ offices, women have started approaching the Venezuelan equivalent of the bartering website Craigslist. The site host sellers posting pictures of black market implants of unknown origin all sealed packed on kitchen tables.
The shortfall have affected women with real medical emergencies who have collected the amount all those years just for the operation. Lisette Arroyo, 46, is such a case. She was on a hold for two months in order to get her ruptured implants replaced. She forcibly bought them directly from the manufacturer before they could be shipped, spending the entire $300 in foreign currency that has been allowed by the government for the Venezuelans annually. The surgery can cost another $800.
Dr. Miguel Angel Useche’s, Arroyo’s surgeon disappointingly said, “Women call me up saying: ‘I’ve made so many sacrifices for this. How can you not help me?”’