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Breast Implant Shortage in Venezuela Hits Women

Update Date: Sep 17, 2014 01:54 AM EDT

Venezuela's currency crisis has hit hard the import of quality breast implants, forcing women to opt for low quality cheap replacements.

According to CBS News, women in Venezuela had easy access to FDA approved breast implants but restrictive currency controls caused cash shortage, forcing importers to cut short on purchases. Women could earlier buy them easily in pharmacies or find at doctor's offices. Venezuela is only behind US, Germany, Brazil and Mexico in the number of its women going under the knife for bust augmentation. About 85,000 procedures were reportedly performed last year.

"The women are complaining. Venezuelan women are very concerned with their self-esteem," Ramon Zapata, president of the Society of Plastic Surgeons told ABC News.

Without quality implants, women now resort to second-best options which are imported from China but are not the best fit. Quality again is a question, experts pointed out. Daily Mail quoted surgeon Daniel Slobodianik who suggested a cultural motivate behind Venezuelan women wanting breast implants.

"It's a culture of 'I want to be more beautiful than you', that's why even people who live in the slums get implants,' he said adding that he now performs only two surgeries a month when earlier he used to perform several in a week.

When asked about Chinese implants he said they came with risks. "I'm not saying they're not safe, but I've removed more than a few ruptured Chinese implants. I just don't feel comfortable with them," Slobodianik told Daily Mail.

Chinese implants cost a third of those brands approved by Europe or US regulators. The surgery would cost another $ 800 dollars, higher than the minimum annual wage in the country.

CBS News reported that the shortage is also forcing women to seek black market implants of questionable quality from the internet. The shortage has fuelled social media talks inviting comments and jokes about Venezuelan women.

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