South Korea is well known for cosmetic surgery. Per capita, people in Korea go under the knife (or needle) more than anywhere else in the world.
If you’re an expat or tourist looking to get a slice of the action then you wouldn’t be alone, South Korea is one of the fastest-growing medical tourist destinations in the world. Offering state of the art treatments at affordable prices, it has become an attractive place for those looking to alter their appearance.
But before you rush to book that otoplasty surgery of your dreams, stop to consider a few important factors.
Research the risks
From lip fillers to liposuction, from botox to breast reduction, there are a plethora of surgeries and treatments now available to us. Before deciding to undertake an elective procedure, it’s important to carefully consider whether the potential benefits outweigh the risks. While doing your research make sure to consider the source.
The individual experience of other patients may be helpful to understand the process of a particular procedure, but when assessing risk look for medically-based unbiased information. The NHS website has a useful directory of cosmetic procedures. Although some of the information is not relevant to South Korea, the details on what to expect with each procedure and what could go wrong is.
Find a clinic
After deciding to go ahead with your cosmetic procedure, you’re going to need to find a clinic. If you’re looking for treatment outside of the capital finding clinics with an English website can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean the doctors themselves don’t speak English.
There’s a dedicated medical tourism center in Busan which can help direct you to a clinic with English speaking doctors or arrange a translation service.
For other areas in Korea, check out the visit medical Korea website for more information.
Interview your doctor
Not all doctors were created equally, and you should never go ahead with a procedure if you aren’t completely confident in your doctor.
Here are a few questions to ask before taking the plunge.
Firstly, check that your doctor is a plastic surgery specialist. The Korean Association of Plastic Surgeons’ website details how to spot a licensed professional.
Next, you’ll want to assess how experienced is your doctor is, not just in general but in the specific procedure you want. Ask how many times they have done the procedure in the past and how frequently they perform it. You can also request for before and after photos of your doctor’s previous work.
Still, you should take these photos with a pinch of salt, as it is not unknown for doctors to ‘doctor’ them. You may feel uncomfortable asking all of these questions but a legitimate clinic will always want to assure their patients, and it’s your right to know.
Consider the costs
Often, price is the first thing we look at when deciding to buy anything. However, when it comes to cosmetic surgery don’t give a clinic a second glance if they fail to pass step 2 and 3, no matter how good a deal it is.
It’s worth shopping around to get an idea of the average price. If a clinic is offering a procedure for much cheaper than its competitors it could be too good to be true.
Also, consider expenses outside of the procedure itself. For instance, if your traveling as a medical tourist it’s highly recommended to get specialist travel insurance to cover medical care should something go wrong.