National Public Radio (NPR) recently reported on plastic surgery trends in Brazil. This report ran on October 7th, titled, “In Brazil, Nips and Tucks Don’t Raise An Eyebrow” and compares the aesthetic preferences of Brazilians and Americans.
In Brazil, 1.5 million cosmetic surgery procedures were performed last year, 13 percent of the world’s total. They have less disposable income than the US on average but have experienced a big boost in their economy over the last decade.
In the US, 13.1 million surgical and non-surgical procedures were performed last year with a 3% increase from 2012. Though the US still holds the title for the most cosmetic procedures overall, Brazil has surpassed the US in number of cosmetic procedures and plastic surgeons per capita.
Brazilians, typically women, are not afraid to go under the knife and performed a higher amount of surgical procedures than non-surgical procedures last year, which was completely opposite for the US.
Part of the reason plastic surgery is so popular is due to how Brazilian women are represented in the media. The traditional body type of a Brazilian is a woman with dark skin, curly hair, small breasts and a large bottom, which is very different from the big breasted women portrayed in the media.
Brazilian women are more likely to flaunt their plastic surgery status symbol where US patients work hard to keep it hidden. Good plastic surgeons in the US are known for natural results while Brazilians prefer very obvious enhancements and changes.
Brazilians believe plastic surgery shouldn’t be just for the wealthy. The Ivo Pitanguy Institute in Rio de Janeirro is named after the famous Brazilian plastic surgeon who is known for saying, “The poor have the right to be beautiful too.”
His facility is always packed with women, and some men, who are waiting to be evaluated for cosmetic surgery, which is either free of charge or heavily subsidized. The hospital offers breast implants, breast lifts, Botox, nose jobs, facelifts and, of course, the ever-popular butt implant.
Francesco Maazarone, who now heads the institue, explains why it’s important to provide cosmetic surgeries to the disadvantaged.
“This is about equality, which is the philosophy Pitanguy created. Equal rights to everyone. The patients come here to get back something they lost in time. We give to them the right to dream,” he says. “What we do here is altruism.”
In the words of a patient of Francesco Mazzarone, “First off, I do this for me. These kind of things you need to do for yourself. And second, there’s nothing better than getting a compliment, right? That you’re good, that you’re sexy, it’s really good. I like it.”