Traveling to Korea for Plastic Surgery: A Guide for First-Timers


Getting Plastic Surgery in Korea

Traveling to another country usually means a vacation, a business trip or traveling to see family, but Seoul is one of very few countries that you travel to, to get plastic surgery. Why Seoul you might wonder. When deciding to get plastic surgery done, it is always imprtant that you have it done by a credible surgeon. And there is no other country where almost 70% of all doctors are specialits in some kind of field.

For a first-timer, traveling to Korea for plastic surgery can be scary and overwhelming. Through this article, we will help guide you through the streets and clinics of the plastic surgery capital of the world, Seoul. 

Traveling to Korea for Plastic Surgery 

1) Finding a Clinic 

One of the best ways to look for a plastic surgery clinic is a simple online search. Several credible websites allow people, especially those who are not South Korean locals, to give their reviews as well as results on the procedure they had in South Korea. Some of the websites include: 
  • Realself- the largest database for reviews of thousands of surgeons. 
  • Purse forum- This forum is for Asian plastic surgery posts as well as reviews and results from individuals who had plastic surgery. 
  • Reddit- Also a forum where people share reviews and results of a procedure they underwent 

2) Choosing the Best Surgeon

There are a lot of plastic surgeons in South Korea, over 120,000 to be exact, but you have to make sure that the plastic surgeon you are choosing is specializing in your desired area or your desired procedure.

You should also make sure that the surgeon is board-certified, and the clinic he works in is government registered. Also, make sure to look at reviews from past clients as well as before and after pictures on the surgeries that he has done. 

3) E-consultation

You do not need to be present at the clinic for the consultation because thanks to today’s technology, plastic surgery clinics have what they call an e-consultation. The client gets a consultation by contacting the clinic through their website.
They ask for your contact name or number in messaging apps such as Kakao, Whatsapp, or Line to get in contact with you. Through these apps, the doctor will do the consultation by utilizing the picture you have sent them. However, take note that the procedure agreed upon during the e-consultation may change once you are in the actual clinic because there will be an actual analysis of your face and body like an x-ray. Sign Up For a FREE Online Consultation

4) Searching for Accommodation 

Once you have booked your flight, it’s time to book your accommodation. There are a lot of choices when it comes to accommodation in Seoul. You may search for a place to stay on your own, or you may also ask the clinic where you will have your plastic surgery procedure for recommendations on the best places to stay that are close to the clinic.

There are a lot of hotels in the area since Seoul is a city that is visited by a lot of tourists, but if you prefer cheaper options, you may go for Airbnb, BnbHero, and Kozaza.

Plastic Surgery Packages

When you go to South Korea for plastic surgery, you not only have a procedure done, but you also get to explore the country through tour packages. Just like a travel agency, there are medical tourism agencies and service providers in the country who will help you before, during, and after your surgery.

Not only this, but they will also be the one to provide you with transportation, accommodation, translation, post-operation care as well as post-operation treatment and care. These packages are solutions for those who want to skip the hassles of booking the hotel, searching for doctors and clinics, and finding their way around the city. Medical tourism agencies are perfect if you want someone to handle all of these or you. All the patient has to do is to find the right agency, then fly to South Korea and enjoy the whole journey for a better and newer you. One of the medical tourism agencies in South Korea is Shin Medical, the country’s premium medical tourism service provider. 
1. Shin Medical 

Shin medical offers comprehensive cosmetic procedure packages and care. Not only do they assist you with arrivals, visa info and currency exchange, but they will also take care of all your post and pre-procedure consultations. They provide the best accomodation according to your budget to ensure you do not pay more than you want to. 
Shin Medical offers a Gold, Silver and Standard package - Each one varying depending on your budget.
2, Seoul Touchup

There are also other agencies like Seoul Touchup that offer packages that include a tour of famous tourist spots in South Korea. They have what they call the Compact Plan and The Extended Plan. Talk about having plastic surgery and vacation at the same time. The two plans are quite the same. The only difference is that the Extended Plan includes a tour of Jeju Island, while the Compact Plan is only limited to Seoul city tour.

Plastic Surgery Cost in Korea in 2020

The cost of plastic surgery in South Korea always depends on several factors like the experience and skill of the doctor, the techniques used in the procedure, the price policy of the chosen clinic, and the complexity of the patient’s case, to name a few. Another factor would be if the you are local or not because prices for the procedure may cost more for foreigners as compared to South Koreans..

The difference in price is because of additional resources required for foreign clients. This may be due to language and cultural differences, resources like a translator, specialized consultants, agents, and post-care services. Premium agencies like Shin Medical will have all of these extra services covered in their overall fee in order to insure clients get the best value for money.

In fact, according to the International Medical Tourism website, prices for plastic surgery procedures in Korea are lower by 20- 30% as compared to Japan and the USA. Some of these procedures done can be covered by insurance, especially if it is for medical purposes, but with cosmetic surgeries, you have to pay it from your pocket. To show you some of the most popularly availed procedures and how much each process costs on average, you may refer to the list below: 

Korean Platic Surgery Procedure and Non-Surgical procedure Price List

Surgery procedures 
Double Eyelid Surgery USD $2,000- $4,000
Rhinoplasty USD $4,000- $6,000
Hair transplant USD $6,000- $10,000
Facelift USD $7,000- $12,000
Breast surgeries USD $8,000- $12,000
Lisposuction USD $4,000- $7,000
Facial contouring USD $5,000- $7,000
Advanced facial contouring USD $10,000- $30,000
Entire body makeover USD $20,000- $35,000
Entire face makeover USD $25,000- $55,000
Nose Fillers  USD $170 ~
Botox USD $200 ~
Fat Grafting USD $1800 ~
Forehead augmentation USD $2500 ~

Once the patient has decided as to which surgery to undergo, the clinic may require a 10% down payment to make sure that the patient is serious with his or her decision to undergo the procedure. Payment can be through cash or wire transfer, Paypal, or credit card.


Reasons Why You Should Get your Plastic Surgery Procedure in Korea

People have labelled South Korea as the “plastic surgery capital of the world” because of the high density of plastic surgery clinics, the sheer number of Koreans that get surgery every day, and because of how normal plastic surgery has become in everyday life in Korea. Korea performs over one million procedures per year, according to Business Insider. Other estimates show that one in every three South Koreans have had at least one plastic surgery procedure done.

Due to the number of surgeries done every year, plastic surgery has contributed so much to the per capita income of the country. Based on the Commission’s survey, the plastic surgery market of South Korea is equivalent to 4.3 trillion won or 3.5 billion USD in the year 2019 alone.

When taking the global market into consideration, Korean plastic surgery comprises a quarter of the world market. The stats means that for every 1000 people, 23 undergo plastic surgery in South Korea.
With blepharoplasty or double eyelid surgery as the number one surgical procedure and Botox and fillers as the top non-surgical plastic surgery, it is evident that South Korean surgeons are experts when it comes to these kinds of procedures.

Also, given the statistics and the number of times surgeons perform different kinds of plastic surgery procedures in South Korea, it is guaranteed that they are already well experienced and trained, and will give you the results that you want to achieve. Not only does Korea have experienced and well-trained plastic surgeons, but these doctors also have their specialties and field expertise.

So you are assured that your doctor has the right knowledge on a specific procedure you want. It’s just like going to a cardiologist for heart problems and a pediatrician for children’s cases.

Plastic Surgery Procedures in Korea 

In South Korea, anything that involves making the skin and appearance more beautiful has a ton of different varaities. Just like the famous Korean skincare lines, plastic surgery also has several kinds of procedures that are done to improve the eyes, nose, jaw, cheek, chin, forehead, breast, buttocks, and the body contour as well as anti-aging treatments and procedures.

Korea has non-invasive and invasive kinds of plastic surgeries in addition to popular ones that have been in existence for decades, like Botox and liposuction. Lesser known procedures include hair transplant. From lasers to injections that are key to having the ideal face and body, the plastic surgery capital of the world has it for you. Seoul surgeons perform thousands of surgeries every day collectively and this shared experience has led to new and innovative procedures like the Siot osteotomy for chin surgeries. 

According to Dr. Choi Min of Answer Plastic Surgery, the top three most popular cosmetic surgeries in Korea are blepharoplasty or double eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty, or more commonly known as a nose job, and glutathione injections.

If you are thinking of having any of these procedures done you might as well get a free consultation done and start planning your medical holiday to Korea. 

Most Popular Plastic Surgery Procedures List in Korea

  • Blepharoplasty/ double eyelid surgery
Removes excess fats in the upper eyelid to achieve the double eyelid
  • Rhinoplasty/ Nose job 
Fixes problems of the nose regarding the shape, size, and appearance. 
  • Glutathione injections 
For skin whitening and pigmentation. 
  • Jaw reduction surgery
To create a slimmer face and achieve the V-line shape 
  • Epicanthoplasty/ eye-widening surgery
To make the eyes look bigger in length 
  • Forehead augmentation
To give the patient a smoother, rounder forehead
  • Hair transplant 
Solves the problem with balding 
  • Chin augmentation
Sometimes paired with jaw surgery to achieve a v-line-shaped face
  • Teeth capping
Responsible for making the teeth whiter and brighter 
  • Breast augmentation
Gives the patient the desired breast shape and size 

In conclusion, getting plastic surgery in Korea requires a lot of preparation, but with the help of technology and the internet, everything from getting in touch with the clinic to accommodations is a simple process. Also, with the help of medical tourism providers like Shin Medical, Seoul Guide Medical and Seoul Touchup, the journey to getting plastic surgery from start to finish is nothing more than a click away.