Immigrants Seek Assimilation under the Surgeon's Knife

Plastic surgery that alters ethnic features to align with Western beauty conventions is on the rise, according to new reports.

Madrid’s El Pais newspaper reports that more immigrants to Spain are undergoing cosmetic surgery than ever before.

South Americans there show the most willingness to go under the knife and erase features common to their ethnic roots.

Rhinoplasty is the most common procedures, although chin implants are also popular for Central American women with rounder faces.

The newspaper also noted that specialized clinics in the United States and Australia are opening to meet demand by Chinese and Japanese immigrants for rounder eyes and creased lids.

Eye surgeries are popular gifts to Asian-descended children after graduation, similar to gifts of breast augmentation for young women in some social circles.

Recent data show this trend is not isolated among newly arrived, or first-generation immigrants.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, almost a quarter of cosmetic plastic surgeries in the United States — more than 2.6 million — targeted ethnic features in 2007, an increase of 13 percent from 2006.

Since 2000, plastic surgery has increased 173 percent among Hispanics, 129 percent for African Americans and 246 percent in Asian Americans.

Common procedures include nose jobs, liposuction, breast augmentation and breast reduction.

–Lauren Riggs/

“Immigration: Spain: At The Surgeon’s To Smooth Features”
El Pais, August 4, 2008

“Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Procedures for Ethnic Patients Up 13 Percent in 2007”
Articlesphere, June 6, 2006

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