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Niche markets reflect NY diversity

Article-Niche markets reflect NY diversity

New York — One of the world’s most diverse cities is spawning plastic surgery niche markets catering to immigrants’ demand for procedures that are tailored to their cultural preferences and ideals of beauty, the online New York Times reports.

New clinics have opened in immigrant enclaves, and existing practices have expanded to meet the demand, according to the Times.

Plastic surgeons working in ethnic neighborhoods have begun to spot certain trends: Many Egyptians are getting facelifts; Italians are reshaping their knees; Chinese patients may want upturned noses turned down; Russian women are increasingly seeking breast enhancements; Koreans want jaw lines slimmed.

The Times quotes Kaveh Alizadeh, M.D., president of the Long Island Plastic Surgical Group (and himself an immigrant, from Iran), as saying, “When a patient comes in from a certain ethnic background and of a certain age, we know what they’re going to be looking for. We are sort of amateur sociologists.”

A professional sociologist in New York says cosmetic surgery can almost be viewed as a tradition among the city’s immigrants, according to the Times. Victoria Pitts-Taylor, a Queens College professor of sociology who wrote a book about popular attitudes toward plastic surgery, tells the Times that a century ago, European Jews underwent nose jobs and Irish immigrants had their ears pinned back in attempts to look “more American” and to be more able to assimilate.

Today, she says, many immigrants are reshaping themselves to their home culture’s trends and tastes.

To help them do so, a growing number of doctors are offering layaway plans. If the price is still too high, the Times reports, illegal surgery by unlicensed practitioners is available in many ethnic neighborhoods — the downside to the trend.

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