Are you considering travelling to Korea for a plastic surgery procedure? Then this article is just what you need to read. We will let you know of all the things you should consider to make the trip a breeze.
Korea is one of the best places for high-quality plastic surgery. The reason for this is the high demand for quality, natural-looking results. And the more patients there are, the more competition there is among surgeons.
Most plastic surgery clinics around the world are small offices but all of the top ones in Seoul are as well-equipped as the most current hospitals and are located in huge buildings that have 10+ floors.
But don’t let the fancy websites and buildings distract you from your main goal – which is choosing the right clinic.
How to search for a trusted clinic in Korea
Look up information on the clinics, procedures and reviews and the best place to do so – the internet. Here are a few platforms you can rely on:
Realself: The world’s largest database of reviews from thousands of surgeons. If the Korean surgeon isn’t listed here, then they probably don’t have many foreigner patients, but mainly local patients.
Purse Forum: This is a forum that has a dedicated category for Asian plastic surgery posts. People post reviews for all types of procedures and you can see results from actual people, which may include the exact procedure you are interested in, making it a worthy resource.
Reddit (/r/plasticsurgery, /r/koreanbeauty, /r/undertheknife): Reddit is another good forum for real reviews that also include the sharing of their results.
Soompi: Although this site is most popular for K-pop news, it has a forum with a lot of content regarding South Korean plastic surgery clinics. Most of the members in the forum are of Asian descent and the forum is a great platform for asking specific questions about Korea.
Google: Google is always your friend. Type “(Your procedure) reviews” or “(Plastic surgery clinic name) reviews” on the Google search bar, and you will be able to find many reviews and posts related to the keywords. This is an excellent tool not to be overlooked. Always check the results up to the third or fourth pages – this makes sure that you get to see all related content instead of only the most viewed ones only. There is a review for EVERYTHING, trust us.
Here’s a tip: filter results by adding “Korea” to the keywords for better accuracy. For example, search for “V line surgery Korea”, “Two-jaw surgery in Korea”.
Choosing the right plastic surgeon in Korea
This may be the second step in the list of pre-surgery research to do, but it is probably the most important.
You must have seen numerous articles, blog entries and videos about botched surgeries, but these negative experiences can be avoided.
We’ve heard of patients receiving mammoplasty done by surgeons that specialise in double-eyelid, which isn’t the most ideal and here’s why – they are usually offered at cheaper prices for the surgeons to use it as a learning experience. You obviously wouldn’t want this.
In Korea, the more popular surgeons are known by the specific surgical technique they are good at. There are specialists for every type of procedure, whether its something basic like botox or something more complicated like facial contouring. Read reviews from platforms like Real Self to find out more about the surgeons.
Don’t forget to apply a secondary filter when you search on these platforms by selecting to read reviews from those who have similar face types as you.
The platform is known for being 100% authentic and without bias. These platforms are also more trustworthy than the websites of the clinics because they share both positive and negative experiences, while clinics will only present the ones with the best results.
Tip: Koreans use their last name first, so if you look up reviews in English, remember to try reversing the name’s order. For example “Oh Myung June” and “Myung June Oh” could be the same person.
Seek an online consultation
The third step is contacting the clinic. We suggest you contact multiple clinics instead of just one so you can actually compare the difference in service levels. All plastic surgery clinics in Korea offer free online consultation. If they don’t, take them off your list of clinics because that is a shady practice.
Below are some examples (Regen Plastic Surgery, Wonjin) of what an online consultation page looks like.
They will usually ask for your contact information: Phone number, ID for the popular messaging apps like Kakao, Whatsapp or Line for direct contact with you.
On average, they respond between 9am to 6pm Korea Standard time, and fairly quickly. You can use these apps to send photos and add as much detail as you can in your questions for an accurate quote.
But always remember that the quotes you get from the doctor according to the photos alone may change when you see them in person.
This could be either due to more work that needs to be done for a particular procedure and/or additional procedures needed before the desired procedure or instead of the desired procedure.
For example, if you want a jaw reduction, the doctor will only see pictures of how wide your jaw looks. However, the doctor can only be sure whether you really need jaw reduction after an X-ray, because the size of your jaw may be caused by large muscles, instead of bone.
In the case that it’s your muscles that are contributing to the large size of your jaw, the doctor may recommend botox instead.
Here are the things you should always discuss with the consultant.
- What the procedures involve
- Cost of procedures; range of cost
- Recovery time
- How many times you will need to visit post-op
- Accommodation (nearby hotels / Airbnb)
- Terms of payment
If you’d like to ask for discount, we recommend saving the discussion until you meet them in person. This is because when they see that you’ve made your way to Korea, they know you are committed to getting the surgery, and wouldn’t want to lose a potential customer to another hospital.
Here are the costs you can expect when getting certain procedures done:
- Breast implants: 8 million won +
- Rhinoplasty: 3 million won +
- Double eyelid: 2 million won +
- Facial contouring: 10 million won +
- Two-jaw surgery: 10 million won +
- Botox / Fat graft: 1 million won +
- Liposuction: 5 million won +
Most clinics will require a 10% deposit to secure a surgery date time slot. This is common practice and lets the clinic know you’re serious about the surgery. You could pay either via wire transfer, credit card or cash.
Clinics such as Regen Plastic Surgery offer full pick-up from the airport to the place of stay after a 10% deposit to reserve your surgery and other additional services.
Securing your accommodation
It’s better to book a hotel or apartment where you would like to stay during the rehabilitation period in advance. If you have any trouble with booking, clinic consultants can usually advise you on the most convenient options.
If you’re worried about language barrier, hotels make the best option. Check with your clinics for recommended hotels, Regen Plastic Surgery, for instance, also offer discounts for recommended hotels.
But if you prefer a quieter environment, it’s better to get an Airbnb. Even though the majority of clinics are located in Gangnam area (the most upscale part of Seoul), prices are still acceptable.
On average, you can find an Airbnb at USD50 per day and for a hotel room, you should be able to secure one at USD50-70 per day.
Planning your trip
Now that you have decided on the surgeon and hospital you want to visit and have an appointment set, and accommodation reserved, it’s time to plan for the trip. Keep in mind that it takes around an hour by bus to get to the Gangnam area from the airport.
After factoring in time for baggage collection and purchasing of a bus ticket, you should be putting aside approximately two hours from the time you get off the plane to when you arrive at your hotel or apartment.
If you’re unsure about anything, ask the consultants from the hospital, since you probably already have them on your messenger apps by then.
Travelling for plastic surgery in a different country might sound scary but if you are informed and prepared, it’s absolutely easy. The hardest part is only in taking the first step.