Patients lose millions of dong and develop disfigurements and disabilities due to accidents during cosmetic procedures. 

After a long period of contemplating a rhinoplasty, Ms T.T.N. (30 years old, Ho Chi Minh City) went online to research the procedure and decided to invest in achieving the profile she had always wanted. However, just 10 days after the operation, she had to undergo a stressful, painful nose revision surgery and incurred additional expensesto treat her complications.

Many “high-end” beauty ads on Facebook are a scam

Ms T.T.N. stated that she had researched her chosen clinic on social media and noted its fan page had many followers and comments. The owner of the cosmetic centre claimed that they had a branch in a prominent building in Ho Chi Minh City, and Ms T.T.N trusted that it was a reputable place due to its location. She paid a deposit of VND 2 million for a nose lift procedure priced at VND 50 million.

On the appointed day, Ms T.T.N. discovered that the advertised establishment was merely a room in a building with no signage and two surgical beds for conducting nose lift procedures. Despite her concerns, she still hoped she would be operated on by a skilled surgeon, as advertised online.

Four days after surgery, Ms T.T.N.’s nose started to discharge fluid. In the following days, she faced a crisis with severe complications and had to seek treatment at another clinic. When she went to the hospital for examination, the doctor diagnosed her with a nasal infection along the suture line, requiring the removal of stitches and cartilage from her nose without anaesthesia due to the ongoing infection.

Ms N.’s nose became infected and damaged four days after she received a nose lift at an underground facility.

“I had an infected suture line, and the stitches became inflamed and filled with pus. I was truly traumatised. When my nose was damaged, I didn’t know where to go to treat the infection,” recounts Ms N.

The case of Ms N. is one among thousands of complications arising from cosmetic surgeries performed at unlicensed facilities in recent times. According to statistics from the Vietnamese Association of Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery, around 250,000 people undergo cosmetic surgeries annually in Vietnam, of which approximately 25,000 to 35,000 cases experience complications, accounting for 14 per cent of all procedures.

The Department of Health in Ho Chi Minh City has continuously imposed fines and suspended the operations of numerous individuals and aesthetic clinics due to violations. Recently, the department also issued penalties against several dermatology and cosmetic specialty clinics for multiple offenses, such as using substances and equipment for interventions in patients’ bodies at unregistered facilities, and providing medical examinations and treatment without proper professional practice certificates.

Despite numerous warnings, why do the number of complications from cosmetic procedures continue to rise?

As the demand for beauty enhancements among both women and men increases, beauty and cosmetic facilities have sprung up rapidly. However, in a market where online marketing is ubiquitous and sophisticated, it can be very difficult to tell the difference between reputable and fraudulent establishments, and many patients ultimately suffer physical harm and financial losses.

These establishments often advertise with captivating images, lively videos, and enticing words that can be persuasive. They make false promises, create fake feedback, offer attractive promotional programs, and present “testimonials” from celebrities who have undergone procedures there, aiming to push individuals to pay deposits to take advantage of limited-time special offers. In the face of this glamorous beauty matrix, many people mistakenly put their trust in these establishments.

Making informed choices regarding cosmetic facilities

Dr Nguyen Thanh Vinh, Specialist Level II, FV Hospital, stated that he frequently receives cases to correct cosmetic procedures botched by clinics outside the FV Group, which is always more challenging and results in physical and psychological harm, high costs, and potentially long-lasting consequences.

When choosing a cosmetics facility, individuals should opt for specialist plastic surgery clinics or reputable hospitals staffed by experienced doctors holding valid professional practice certificates and operating licenses. These establishments must offer modern, well-equipped facilities, including operating rooms with strict infection control, to minimise the risk of infection during cosmetic surgeries and less invasive procedures.

During their treatment journey, individuals should consult directly with the surgeon who will perform the procedure instead of solely relying on consultants or doctors who are not directly involved.

Dr Nguyen Thanh Vinh, Specialist Level II, FV Lifestyle Clinic, FV Hospital, consults with clients regarding cosmetic surgeries.

Dr Vinh advises, “The number of likes, comments, and followers on a social media page does not prove the capability of a beauty establishment. Instead, choose clinics that meet professional licensing requirements set by specialist authorities.”