While surgeons in Brazil and the United States, respectively, still perform the highest number of procedures in the word, Seoul, South Korea is not far behind. It already holds the title of most plastic surgery procedures per capita, and the number is growing. Gangnam, the exclusive area known to the world through the hit song, includes about 500 plastic surgery practices. Approximately one-fifth of South Korean women between the ages of 20 and 50 have had some work done. Even though plastic surgery is common in America, only 5 percent of females have opted for actual surgical treatment. South Korean males undergo more plastic surgery operations than men in other countries.
Seoul is filled with plastic surgery centers and the accompanying advertising, often featuring Westerners. The most popular operations include blepharoplasty - eyelid surgery - giving native Koreans the double eyelid crease found in Westerners. Nose jobs, facelifts and liposuction are also high on the list. Korean women often undergo jaw reconstruction.
Because of the competitive market and expertise of Korean plastic surgeons, Seoul has blossomed into a plastic surgery tourism destination. Although the bulk of such tourists arrive from different parts of Asia, the numbers of non-Asian visitors are increasing rapidly. It’s not difficult to find a surgeon and practice fluent in English. European patients may receive a Value Added Tax refund for their surgery expenses.
Plastic surgery flourishes in South Korea because it has become part of the culture. It’s a competitive, ethnically homogenous society. Korean students spend far more time in school than their North American counterparts, and start preparing for their university entrance examinations while still young. University acceptance determines their future lives and careers. Koreans also know that good-looking people have an advantage in the job market, so plastic surgery for appearance improvement has virtually become a rite of passage. It’s not uncommon for a bride to undergo plastic surgery in the months prior to a big wedding.
If you decide to head to Korea for plastic surgery, keep a few things in mind. It’s a different, more assembly-line process than in the U.S. You’ll likely speak with a consultant, not a surgeon, about the procedures. You may never meet the actual surgeon. You’re prepped, anesthetized and wake up in a “Beauty Recovery Room” after the operation.
Here’s a tip: When checking out Korean plastic surgery centers, look at the employees. They’re usually the best advertisements for a surgeon’s services.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about plastic surgery, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!