I got liposuction in Korea

Seoul

Detailed experience of what liposuction in Korea is like

Have you been considering traveling to a new country for lipo or another cosmetic surgery? Wondering if prices really are cheaper? Or the doctors are really THAT good? 

Honestly, it depends. Some procedures like LASIK, I can attest to are 100% worth traveling to Korea to have performed. While I haven’t had a rhinoplasty, the doctors here are superb and have several friends that would vouch for that procedure. BUT, that’s not why you’re reading this specific article. Fret not, I’ve done the legwork on lipo for you and this is my experience; start to finish.


A little background

I’m a bi-racial Asian/White woman. I was a collegiate athlete and bikini model in my early 20’s. Post-college/post-athletic career, my weight started to become a frustration of mine. I love working out, but sometimes life gets in the way. Over the last 7+ years, it’s been yo-yoing causing me frustration, grief, anger, and body issues I never had. Naturally, I started researching different methods on how to lose weight for good.

My first consultation was years ago and much closer to my goal weight. It was in Los Angeles and for CoolSculpting, a non-invasive procedure that freezes the fat and then you use your workout routine to flush it. I would recommend looking into it if you’re at your goal weight or within 1-3kg(5-7lbs). That clinic ended up prescribing me Phentermine, a prescription strength appetite suppressant. All that did was make my yo-yo worse. So I took the time over the past couple of years to really dig into my options, and I settled on getting liposuction. I was a bit further from my goal weight weight ~10kg(~20lbs). I saw lipo as my springboard to seeing results and recompositioning my body for more muscle.

I ended up pre-pricing out around 10-12 different clinics before deciding which clinics to attend for an in-person consultation. I won’t go over all of the clinics with you, but some of my favorites and, of course, the clinic I went with. I will say that I think it’s vital that you have someone that is a native to your chosen language go with you. If you don’t have someone, check out services like Shin Medical that offer native speaking English translators. A great deal of my confusion, frustrations, doubts, I would link to non-native translators. 

*All quotes are for full abdomen, flanks/love handles, and bra-line/waistline. I went into all of my consultation emphasizing that I wanted to emphasize my waistline (aka hourglass).
**Pro-tip: A lot of clinics will quote you some pretty insane pricing and let you know they’ll provide a discount at a consultation. Go ahead and let them know some of the other quotes you already have and if they can’t go ahead and give you a quote, you’ll just go elsewhere. Generally, they will give you the actual price at this point or something much closer to it.

Consultations

 

Lydian: Best Overall

Dr. An at Lydian Plastic surgery  was my first consultation in Seoul and that might have been to his detriment. He’s really blunt and straight to the point which I had a hard time feeling at ease. In retrospect after dealing with a lot of consultations and non-sense, I came to really appreciate that about him. I think I passed because he was the first consultation and I’m still not sure what my quote was. Here are some of the things I really liked about Lydian:
  • Dr. An is the only surgeon in this office, so he will perform both your consultation and surgery. This may not happen at a lot of other clinics.
  • He is fluent in English, so you don’t have to worry about getting your wants and needs across. The downside, his assistant isn’t, so going over pricing gets confusing.
  • He doesn’t beat around the bush or give you insane pricing before offering “discounts”.
  • He specializes in lipo and 5D liposculpture


The View: Best for Multiple Types of Procedures at Once

Next on my list of faves, is the View. The View is a plastic surgery clinic that performs a wide range of procedures. Knowing this, I also had a breast lift/augmentation consultation. Ultimately at ~12M won (lipo only), they were just out of my budget. This forced me to look for another clinic. But, here are some of the pros:
  • They perform lots of different procedures. So if you’re looking to get a breast lift/augmentation/reduction and lipo, they’re a great choice. They’re known for their breast augmentations.
  • By far, they had the best translator. Ask for her, Jasmine, she’s a Korean-American, so if English is your native language, 100% here! Jasmine made it a point to get my needs across and left me feeling like all my questions were answered upfront. She really went above and beyond to try and work with me.
  • This was my favorite facility. That might just be location or interior, but everyone and everything felt professional. You leave feeling complete confidence that they know what they’re doing and you’ll get great results.


365mc: Best Bang for Your Buck

This is the clinic I ended up choosing. They’re a clinic that specializes in weight loss, so naturally they perform a lot of lipo. In fact, the most in Seoul. They also offer other weight management procedures such as LAMS, a weight loss injectable for those further from their goal weight. Here are some of the pros here:
Specialize in weight loss, so you’ll get a consultation during recovery with a nutritionist to help you maintain long-term goals.

All the post-care massages/treatments were included in the price. I didn’t have to worry about booking and paying for additional services, it was just included in the price.
Since they perform the most lipos in Seoul, you'll have a plethora of before and afters to review.
They were one of the more affordable clinics. My original quote was ~7.5M won, final price ~9M.


Preparation/Pre-Surgery

Now that I was finally booked for surgery, there is preparation to take care of! Liposuction takes around 4-6 to start to see results, so best to be prepared. It is a really good idea to get the items you’ll need before the day of your surgery. Here is a list of items you’ll want to grab:
  1. 2 or more sets of compression garments or Fajas: You live in these garments now. No, really, you can’t take them off other than to shower. If you’re like me and would like to smell nice, you will want to grab at minimum 2 sets or full-body fajas.
  2. Foam boards: Look for a set that includes the front, lower-back/lumbar support, and flanks. These will help compress in the first few weeks even more.
  3. Rolling pin or foam roller: If you had fat from your back removed, this will make reaching those areas for lymphatic massages much easier.
  4. Water-proof band-aids and normal band-aids: I was advised that I could shower after 72-hours wearing water-proof band-aids. Then, I would disinfect and recover the stitches. I have to do this anytime I shower until the stitches are removed. I have 11 incision points. That’s A LOT of band-aids.
  5. Painkillers: There are specific painkillers you can and cannot use, so be sure to ask your doctor.
  6. Pillows: Grab a couple extra or one firm one to keep yourself elevated while you sleep. It will help you heal faster.
  7. T-shirt dresses or other loose non-elastic clothing: Yes, I KNOW everything online says sweatpants, but you can’t wear elastic bands for a couple of months (length of time varies by doctor). The elastic can cause deformities in your new body shape. Grab some cute recovery clothes to live in on top of your garments.
  8. In addition to this list of items to pick up, I watched how to perform lymphatic massages at home to educate and prepare myself for how uncomfortable I was about to get. Note here are few other pre-surgery items. 
  9. Do not drink or smoke at least one week before surgery. This can mess with your anesthesia.
  10. Stop taking all non-prescribed medication a month prior. Check with your doctor about prescribed meds.
  11. Fast 8 hours prior to surgery.


Day of Surgery

I showed up to the clinic ready to go! They had a translator ready to attend to me up until my surgery. I got changed into my gown and gave my underwear and socks to a nurse so they could put them on me after surgery. Once changed, we met with each surgeon that would operate on me; one for my arms; one for my mid-section. 

My surgeon for my arms was very straightforward and set expectations well. She let me know where and how much she would remove. Additionally, she let me know what they saw as my goal weight. I let her know that was close to my own goal weight, but a little lighter as I would like to put on more muscle. She commented that if I put on more muscle that would still be an acceptable goal weight. She then marked my arms and I was on my way.

Next, we went to discuss my mid-section. My surgeon and I had some back and forth on what we thought my body should look like. I re-emphasized how I wanted my waistline to be the main feature. I was informed that my bra-line/waistline was not included in my package. As I’m a top-heavy woman, I added it for an additional cost. I felt like taking my love handles and leaving my bra-line would leave me feeling more top heavy than I already was. Once I paid, the surgeon marked my body up and I was sent for final preparations.

The nurse, translator, anesthesiologist, and I make our way down to the surgery room. Since my arms were one of my target areas, we inserted an IV into my foot. Then, they bathed me in iodine. I didn’t know that iodine had such a strong smell, but in large quantities, it smells! As I was having a large amount of my body worked on, I was put to sleep. It was my first time, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I asked if it would feel as if I was gently rolling off to sleep. Before they could answer, it hit me like a good time at a music festival and that was that.

Groggy and feeling like I was hit by a train/or the worst hangover of my 30’s, I came to in my assigned recovery room wearing my compression garments. The recovery nurses told me to take my time and let them know when I was ready for a light meal. Once I was ready, I pressed the button on my bed and was greeted with rice porridge. Once I finished eating, the nurse indicated that we would go pee in 5 minutes. I told her I didn’t need to. She grabbed her phone to translate that I have to pee to wake up properly. She handed me a water in which I chugged and then she proceeded to help me down the hall and to pee. I’m thankful for her because there is no way I would’ve been able to reclose my compression garment without her. Not too long after, I took a taxi home.


First Week of Recovery

At the time of writing this blog, it’s been a week since the surgery. It is vital that you follow instructions post-surgery to prevent complications and see results. Daily, I have been walking a minimum of 2-hours a day. My meals consist mostly of lean proteins, veggies, and rice. There is some bread, but I’m definitely cautious to not overdo it. I wear my garments 24/7 spare showers. I returned to my daily routine for work the next day.

Over the course of the first 4-5 days, my body continued to swell and bruise. From this, I actually gained some weight and was weighing more than my pre-surgery weight. The garments pushed the swelling to non-surgical areas, so my lady-bits, feet, and hands were very swollen. My bruising reached all the way down to my hands and further to my knees. After day 5, the swelling started to go down and by day 8, I could sit normally on a toilet. My bruising is still wide-spread, but it’s starting to change to yellow, so it’s healing.


Can I see a difference? 

On day 8, I’m down about 3kg (5lbs) from my pre-surgery weight and down about an inch (cm and half) in all the targeted areas. 100% in my arms, yes!! I would 10/10 recommend getting your arms done. I love the new line and shape of my arms. For my abdomen, the verdict is still out. Currently, the swelling is starting to go down, but my stomach is still hard and lump (totally normal BTW). But don’t worry, you can follow along on my Instagram (@thetadaaah) where I’m posting a food diary and all the updates and will be updating here as well! 


Some things I would ask or do differently

These items are just some questions I think you should ask and be firm that they answer prior to your surgery if you’re considering lipo.
  • What surgeon(s) will be performing my procedure(s)?
  • How many of these specific procedure(s) have he/she/they performed?
  • May I see X surgeons before and after photos?
  • Is X surgeon accepting and open to performing procedures for beauty standards that differ from their own?
  • What is your specific post-operative care? What is included in pricing?
Have them break down what exactly is being priced and that they understand what you want done on your body. Have them show you on your body and not tell you.

Be extra firm! At the end of the day, it’s your body and these are permanent changes. They need to meet your needs.
Please let us know any questions or comments below and we’ll be happy to answer everything we can! Thank you so much for reading. Until next time!