Category: Weird Articles
Published on Thursday, 18 May 2017 00:00
Written by Dave Khoo
In a cosmetic craze that is sweeping across Thailand, women are going under their knife and reshaping their lips to look like buffalo horns. Dubbed as the “krachap lips”, this procedure is currently only popular in Thailand for the time being.
Named after the water caltrop a.k.a. water chestnut, buffalo nut, bat nut, devil pod, ling nut, lin kok, ling kio nut, singhara, or krachap in Thailand, this nut resembles the shape of a buffalo's horns which in turn mirrors the lip shape that Thai women are seeking for.
The controversial cosmetic procedure has become increasingly popular among young women over the last five years and cosmetic surgeons are desperate to stop it due to its irreversible nature.
The origins of the krachap lips are fuzzy but posts on the plastic surgery internet forum, Dungdong, reveal that people have been talking about the bow-shaped upper lip as early as 2009, in a desire to mimic actress Patcharapa “Aum” Chaichua's dainty lips.
If you ask me, the krachap lips seem to resonate with the child-like innocence of porcelain dolls' rosebud lips, and can be quite adorable. However, not everyone has lips suitable to undergo such a procedure and more often than not, patients who are adamant on getting these lips despite being strongly advised against doing so by plastic surgeons, end up with botched results that frankly look quite terrifying.
Krachap lips is identified by the protruding middle section of the upper lip which is done by removing a chunk of tissue from the left and right parts of the lip, creating archs in the upper lip that looks like a subtle M.
Complications arise when people with unsuitable lips go too far in trying to achieve this lip shape by removing too much tissue. It is not recommended for people who are born with naturally thin lips because sometimes the reduction is so extreme that the lips at rest are not able to close fully and reveal two gaping holes, or the top lip disappears entirely when the person smiles.
Plastic surgery forums are full of reports of botched up procedures, but that doesn’t seem to scare people out of going under the knife.
“It’s a nationwide problem, this lip thing, I blame the internet for it,” plastic surgeon Chamnong Chirawichada told the Bangkok Post. “Sometimes it takes me half an hour to persuade a patient not to do it, but then they end up having it elsewhere. Lip reduction is not appropriate for everyone.”
Chamnong claims that he has turned down thousands of requests for krachap lips over the last five years, and even doubled the price of the surgery to deter women from going through with it. But the requests keep coming, and if they are advised against having the procedure at his clinic, they just seek out other doctors.
Dr. Pusit Jittilaongwong admits that krachap lip surgeries make up 90% of his business, even though he has the most expensive prices for the procedure in the country – 30,000 baht ($1,215) per lip, or 55,000 ($2,227) for both. About 70% of his clients are women.
Thankfully, this beauty trend seems to be contained in Thailand, or at least for the time being. In other parts of the world, people mostly alter their lip shapes with the use of collagen injections which lasts temporarily and is not irreversible as krachap lips.
“Whenever I attend international conferences, no one mentions lip contouring or the krachap lip, this is a Thai thing,” Dr. Chamnong said.
The popularity of this unusual cosmetic surgery in Thailand may be connected to the generally superstitious nature of its people. Several plastic surgeons have confirmed that many of those who ask for this procedure believe that it will bring them fame and fortune, and naturally, you can blame the media for that inane belief.
“Some newspapers publish articles on how the krachap lip reduction may lead to good fortune, when in fact no one can confirm whether or not that is true,” said Adunchai Thammasangsert, a plastic surgeon who wrote an article on the dangers of lip reduction procedures.
“The fact is that Thais easily follow a trend and are superstitious, while clinics are getting richer. The large amount of internet reviews of the krachap lip is kind of a hypnosis in itself; making people believe that this type of lip shape is beautiful and others aren’t,” he added.
Plastic surgery internet forum Dungdong is full of horror stories about the krachap lip with many grotesque photos as evidence. People often end up with crooked smiles, develop keloid, painful scar tissues caused by surgery, or are left unable to close their mouth properly. Many of them are forced to go under the knife again to correct these defects, but plastic surgeons warn that a lip that has been thinned out too much will never be perfectly reconstructed.
Getting a botched krachap lip corrected is pricey and not to mention painful, because the procedure is a complicated one that involves extracting tissue from the inside of the mouth to sew back on the upper lip. Some defects are impossible to correct, and there are rumors circulating around on the forums that desperate users who are left with permanently gaping mouth have taken their own lives out of desperation.
Dr. Adunchai says that many Asians don’t have thick upper lips to begin with but still request reductions. And instead of measuring the lip when assessing a patient, some surgeons bypass this part and just take the person's money, often leaving them disfigured.
A simple trip down to your friendly plastic surgeon's office to get a couple of collagen injections will do just the trick too. A renowned plastic surgeon will know just what to do with collagen injections to achieve that cutesy krachap lip without the need to hack away chunks of your lip. In the eventuality that you feel the look is not for you, there is no need to worry as the collagen will get reabsorbed into your body a few months later anyway.