Do you have a round-back head or a flat-back head? Does it matter?

If you live in South Korea, it most certainly does for a growing number of patients who have turned to plastic surgery to make their “flat” heads appear rounder and therefore – at least in their eyes – more attractive.

You won’t believe how it’s done.

‘Stick’ing to the plan

It appears that in South Korea, at least, having a head that is flatter in the back than is the norm is a cause for ridicule. We’re not talking about the genetic deformity plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome), but normal people with perfectly normal skull morphology.

At one Seoul plastic surgery clinic, for example, the Round Head Plastic Surgery procedure is the glue, so to speak, that binds many patients to a common cause: to achieve a rounder-looking head.

The procedure takes less than an hour to complete and requires only a small incision made in the back of the “flat” head, through which the surgeon pours 20 to 80 grams of special cement. The glue literally sticks to and fuses with the cranial bone, adding both weight and height to the base of the skull.

In post-op photos patients’ skulls definitely appear rounder and the cosmetic results are good. The point, however, is that there really was nothing manifestly wrong or out of the ordinary with the original shape of the skull of these patients.

At least, not by Western standards.

Rounding Out the Numbers

Round Head Plastic Surgery has yet to go mainstream in South Korea or among Asians in general but the number of patients is definitely growing. It speaks to the power of preconceived notions of beauty that are largely culture bound. To have a flat-back head in South Korea is to carry the stigma of having a substandard noggin in terms of general appearance.

By Western standards, Round Head Plastic Surgery seems fringe at best, excessive, and unnecessary, which misses the point entirely. Facial plastic surgery is not a one-size-fits-all industry. Plastic surgeons strive always to be mindful of the cultural aspects of their profession if they are to reach out and appeal to the broadest spectrum of patients.

South Koreans are big consumers of plastic surgery and innovation is the key to the ongoing success of the industry in South Korea.

In the U.S., don’t expect Round Head Plastic Surgery to take the market by storm. Many patients are perfectly happy with the results of a well-done facelift, combined with one or more cosmetic facial procedures – minus the cranial cement.

Dr. Kyle S. Choe is a board certified facial plastic surgeon and hair restoration specialist with offices located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Contact The Choe Center for Facial Plastic Surgery at 757.389.5850 for a personal consultation.