Here is an oddity. More people are having plastic surgery in crisis wracked Greece than in any other country in the world. The reason? It may come down to simply wanting to feel and look better in the face of economic adversity.
According to the Germany‘s DerSpegel, in 2011, 142 394 cosmetic procedures were performed in the country of 11 million people. Which is to say one in 79 Greeks had such procedures as liposuction, eyelid corrections and Botox injections.
Worldwide, the Greeks ranked second only to the South Koreans in terms of the number of procedures performed. In the economic giant of Germany, only one in 200 had work done in 2011.
Reflects plastic surgeon Athanasios Athanaisiou who opened his thriving practice Athens Beverly Hills Medical Group at the height of Greece’s economic crises in 2011 : ‘I believe that when people are not doing well, it is especially important to hear others say: “Wow, you look great”.
‘I always saw the economic crisis as an opportunity.’
“People are working,” he says. “Maybe they’re earning less money, but they are working. We adjust ourselves to the market.”
Yet there may also be another reason why so many Greeks are opting for plastic surgery. Falling costs.
Surgeons are charging an average of 40 percent less for their procedures while the cost of an operating theater has fallen from £1,800 to £600 ($2800USD – $930 USD)
Yet here’s the fix, the fall in the cost of certain procedures may be more of a result of a fall in health care expenditure as a whole in Greece,which has seen the government there slashing its budget by a third in the space of 3 years. Where as the Greek government spent 12 billion pounds (18 billion USD) on health care in 2009, in 2012 it only spent 8 billion (12.4 billion USD).
The resulting effect of health care cuts has led now led to as many as 35% of Greeks not having access to health care insurance, a huge deficit in necessary drugs and stories of hospital staff scavenging in waste bins for food scraps as well as cancer patients been denied treatment because of their inability to pay for the cost of necessary medicine. Stark realities that are not sitting too well for most Greeks as well to do Greeks continue to pursue cosmetic procedures.
Tells local cardiologist Dr. Giorgos Vichas:
‘We Greeks were not always saints before the crisis. To a certain extent, many of us played a role in what has happened here. Those who can afford these cosmetic procedures now are among those who exploited the old system in the first place.’
But there may be a real legitimate reason why so many Greeks are pursuing plastic surgery. As economic opportunities have dwindled many women are now once again being forced into upending their appearances as this for many has become their sole currency in getting ahead.
Reflects psychiatrist Matthew Josafat:
‘The notion of the emancipated companions that women have become in the modern age hasn’t taken hold in Greece as quickly as it has in northern Europe.I fear the crisis and the lack of jobs could force women back into their old role: being attractive and getting married.”
Worldwide, the Greeks ranked second only to the South Koreans in terms of the number of procedures performed.
However, the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) estimates that with the declining costs of procedures, the Greeks will overtake the rest of the world when 2012 figures are published later this year.
Interestingly Greece isn’t the only country where the beauty business thrives in times of crisis. In the United States, too, many people have had cosmetic procedures despite the poor economic situation. After the 2008 recession, Americans spent less on food, rent and clothing, but more on breast augmentations, liposuction and gluteoplasty. Which might all be another way of saying in times of economic woe it just may help to finally get round to that beauty treatment that may help you feel better about yourself and of course have others feel better about you as well…
Then there was this reaction courtesy of the clinic where Dr Giorgos Vichas works as a volunteer to those who have no access to health care which piqued my interest:
Upon publication of the article, the clinic sent a letter of complaint to Der Spiegel, arguing that “the article it is totally out of tune with the interview that Dr Vychas gave.”
“We read the article and at start we could not understand the link between our medical clinic and 90% of what you have written in your article,” the letter reads. “The whole article seems like a big promotion for the plastic surgery industry and in particular the clinic of Mr Athanasiou, who must be very excited with the free advertisement that he got by Spiegel.
above image found here