Dear Sir,

We read with great interest the article, “Cosmetic procedures among youths: a survey of junior college and medical students in Singapore”, by Ng et al,(1) which sheds light on previously unreported cosmetic procedures among youths in Singapore. Ng et al(1) suggested that their finding of a greater proportion of medical than junior college (JC) students having undergone cosmetic procedures contrasts with findings by Javo and Sørlie,(2) which espouse a negative correlation between education and interest in plastic surgery. However, we find that this comparison is unfair, as Javo and Sørlie(2) used a randomised sample drawn from Norwegian statistics. Furthermore, Ng et al’s comparison between JC and medical students could present strong confounding factors like age and maturity. The authors concluded that their findings suggest that the younger population is increasingly accepting of cosmetic procedures.(1) We find this conclusion overly broad, as the study sample included only youths from JCs and a medical school. These schools have relatively higher academic entry requirements and only allow enrolment to a small selection of youths who have the highest academic achievements. This is not representative of the Singapore youth population, where 50.7% of them between the ages of 25 and 34 do not have university education.(3)

Yours sincerely,
Shunjie Chua1, Jing Li2
1Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore, 2Department of Rheumatology, Jiangsu University Affiliated Hospital, Jiangsu, China.


1. Ng JH, Yeak S, Phoon N, Lo S. Cosmetic procedures among youths: a survey of junior college and medical students in Singapore. Singapore Med J 2014; 55:422-6.

2. Javo IM, Sørlie T. Psychosocial predictors of an interest in cosmetic surgery among young Norwegian women: a population-based study. Plast Surg Nurs 2010; 30:180-6.

3. Department of Statistics Singapore. Population Trends 2013. In: Statistics Singapore [online]. Available at: Accessed August 22, 2014.