Taiwan bans invasive plastic surgery for minors

TAIPEI - Taiwan's Ministry of Health and Welfare has banned people under the age of 18 from undergoing unnecessary cosmetic surgery.

The ministry said that any doctor who performs invasive plastic surgery, including liposuction, breast enlargement, double-eyelid surgery and bone reduction, on anyone under the age of 18 could receive a maximum fine of NT$200,000 (S$8,540) for each operation performed.

Micro-cosmetic operations like botox and hyaluronic injection, intense pulsed light and laser treatment for pigmentation, however, can still be performed on people who have not reached 18.

"People who have not reached the age of 18 are not completely developed yet," said Bureau of Medical Affairs director-general Lee Wui-chiang.

"So, we do not advise doctors to conduct invasive plastic surgery on minors."

However, he said that minors can still undergo necessary surgical treatments for bromidrosis and scars, provided they have permission from a guardian.

"We do not want everyone to look like human clones by undergoing plastic surgery while chasing the same beauty standards," said Mr Lee.

"Taiwanese people actually have nice facial structures in general," he added. "And if some people really want to undergo any plastic surgery, they should wait until they are 18 years old."

According to the ministry's statistics, at least 800 people under the age of 20 undergo cosmetic surgery annually and only about 5 per cent of them undergo invasive plastic surgery.