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Brazil's Poor Receiving Plastic Surgery Free Of Charge

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Want a nose job but just can't afford one? Head to Brazil.

In Brazil, the second biggest consumer of plastic surgery, cosmetic procedures have become so widespread that doctors are now offering them to many impoverished Brazilians at discounted rates, The Daily Mail reports. At just one of the 220 clinics where discount cosmetic surgery is offered, doctors have performed more than 14,000 procedures free of charge since 1997.

Brazil, a major emerging economy, has seen significant economic growth of late, but major cities like Rio de Janeiro continue to struggle with rampant poverty. But surgeries can provide benefits to the poor aside from just altering the patient's appearance, according to the Brazilian doctors who perform the procedures.

"What's a wrinkle? Something minor, right?" Dr. Nelson Rosas, who performs discount procedures on the poor told The Daily Mail. "But when we treat the wrinkle...we're actually treating something very important: The patient's self esteem."

Rosas is far from alone. Dr. Ivo Pitanguy, another plastic surgeon in Brazil, made similar comments to The New York Times last year. "The poor have the right to be beautiful, too," Pitanguy then said.

But many in the U.S. might disagree. There can often be a stigma associated with plastic surgery in America and the notion of offering procedures free of charge can incite the ire of detractors even more. Michael Salzhauer, or Dr. Schnoz, is a prime example. The Orthodox Jewish plastic surgeon is currently offering free procedures to singles in the Miami Orthodox Jewish community in the hopes that it will help some find a spouse. Salzhauer's intention may be to alleviate some of the pressure put on potential wives' looks, but one commentor was "disgusted, and pained" after reading about the idea in the Jewish Press.

Dr. Schnoz's music video advocating rhinoplasty for Jewish teens likely doesn't help his cause either.

Free plastic surgery has also faced a backlash in Buffalo, New York, where 3,400 teachers are eligible for free procedures like botox or tummy tucks thanks to their employee insurance policies. Taxpayers and the school board aren't happy about the insurance plans, particularly because the district spent $5.2 million to cover them last year, according to WGRZ. But the teachers are standing by the cosemetic surgery perks. The Buffalo school district offered to save 100 jobs if the union agreed to a new insurance plan, but the educators said they'd suck up the layoffs if they could keep the liposuction.

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