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

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


Travelling to another country always means vacation or a business trip, but there is only one country wherein you travel to get plastic surgery, South Korea. When getting plastic surgery, it is always a must that you have it done by a credible surgeon and there is no other country with thousands of surgeons specializing in the different areas of plastic surgery than Korea. For a first timer, travelling to Korea for plastic surgery can be scary and overwhelming. Through this article you will gain ideas on what to do to get that desired appearance from the plastic surgery capital of the world.

Travelling to Korea for Plastic Surgery

One of the best ways to look for a plastic surgery clinic when you are in another country is through the internet. There are several credible websites that allows 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 is dedicated to Asian plastic surgery posts as well as reviews and results from individuals who had a plastic surgery.
    • Reddit- Also a forum where people share reviews and results of a procedure they underwent
    • Soompi- Here you can ask specific questions about Korea especially Korean plastic surgery clinics.
    • Choosing the Best Surgeon

There are a lot of plastic surgeons in South Korea, 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.

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 as e-consultation. This can be done by contacting the clinic through their website. They will be asking for your contact name or number in messaging apps such as Kakao, Whatsapp, or Line in order to get in contact with you. Through these apps, the doctor will do the consultation by means of the picture you have sent them. However, take note that the procedure that is decided during the e-consultation may change once you are in the actual clinic because there will be actual analysis of your face and body like an x-ray.

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 also 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 tourist, 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 since it is up to the medical tourism provider to handle all of these. All the patient has to do is to fly to South Korea and enjoy the whole journey to a better face and body.

One of the medical tourism agencies in South Korea is Seoul Guide Medical, the country’s largest and government approved medical tourism service provider.  They have connections to several of the country’s best hospitals and clinics in plastic surgery, vision correction, dentistry, dermatology, and general hospital care. They offer what they call as the Silver Package and Gold Package. These packages can be availed in with the plastic surgery procedure that you have chosen. For the Silver Package, it is a combination of different treatments that could pamper your skin before or after the plastic surgery procedure that you went through, depending on your preference and the surgery that you underwent. The silver package includes the following:

1) Scan and Analysis

2) Professional Cleansing

3) Exfoliating Cream

4) Aqua Steamer

5) Aqua Cleaner

6) Rejuvenation Laser Therapy 

7) Rejuvenation laser light

8) Customized Rejuvenation Mask

9) Creams and Serums

10) Professional Hair Wash

11) Cryotherapy

On the other hand, the Gold Package is a combination of the Bronze Package and Silver Package plus Fat Dissolving Ultrasound procedure. The fat dissolving ultrasound gets rid of fats which the body processes or turns into energy. The result of this procedure is immediate and will continue to show improvement within 2 weeks. When done in the waist area, this usually shows 1-4 cm decrease right after the procedure. The steps for the fat dissolving ultrasound is as follows:

1) Consultation

2) Body Measurements

3) Vitamin Injection for Health and Skin Pigmentation Balancing

4) Ultrasound Cavitation

5) Low Level Laser Light and Multi/Bio-Polar Radio Frequency

6) Vacuum Suction

7) Body Fat Massage

There are also other agencies like Seoul Touchup who offer packages that includes a tour of famous tourist spots on South Korea. They have what they call as the Compact Plan and The Extended Plan. Talk about having a 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

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 the patient’s citizenship because prices for the procedure may cost more for foreigners as compared to South Koreans who want to undergo a plastic surgery procedure. This is because additional resources are needed for foreign clients due to language and cultural difference; resources like a translator, special consultants, agents, and post care services. For services availed from an agent, an additional fee of up to 30% of treatment fee will be charged for the services they rendered such as consultation, booking, pick up, research, negotiation with clinics, and translation services. 

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

Surgery procedures

Eyelid Surgery

USD $2,000- $4,000


USD $4,000- $6,000

Hair transplant

USD $6,000- $10,000


USD $7,000- $12,000

Breast surgeries

USD $8,000- $12,000


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

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

Reasons Why You Should Get your Plastic Surgery Procedure in Korea

South Korea has been deemed as the “plastic surgery capital of the world” because of the prevalence of plastic surgery procedures that are done at a rate of one million procedures per year according to Business Insider. Other estimates show that one in every three South Korean has 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 in USD in the year 2019 alone. When taken into consideration the global market, Korean plastic surgery comprises a quarter of the world market. This 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 done and Botox as the top non-surgical plastic surgery, it can be said 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, as well as 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 own 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 lot of kinds, types, and varieties. Just like the popular Korean skincare lines, plastic surgery also has several kinds of procedures that is done to improve the eyes, nose, jaw, cheek, chin, forehead, breast, buttocks, and the body contour as well as anti-aging treatments and procedures. They have non-invasive and invasive kinds of plastic surgeries and popular ones that have been in existence for decades like the Botox and liposuction. There are also unpopular ones that are not known by other people, like the 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. In fact, because of the experience of the surgeons in handling different cases, they have invented their own methods that would cater to cases that cannot be solved by conventional ones like the Siot osteotomy for chin surgeries.

With the array of surgery procedures available, there are some procedures that are mostly requested. According to Dr. Choi Min of Answer Plastic Surgery the top three most popular cosmetic surgeries that are done in Korea are the blepharoplasty or double eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty or more commonly known as a nose job, and glutathione injections. If one of these is the surgery you are thinking of having, then might as well proceed to South Korea and have it done. If it’s neither of the three, then here are the most popular plastic surgeries in Korea:

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

In conclusion, getting a 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 makes it easier. Also, with the help of medical tourism providers like Seoul Guide Medical and Seoul Touchup, the journey in getting a plastic surgery from start to finish makes it hassle free and smooth flowing.

With the statistics presented on the number of plastic surgeries done in Korea, it is evident that plastic surgeons in the country have the right amount of experience in order to produce amazing and commendable results. While prices may differ between locals and foreigners, it is still worth every penny because the convenience their service gives to foreigners is truly amazing.

With a wide variety of procedures available, surely you will be able to decide which procedure can give you your cosmetic goal. So, what are you waiting for? Find that clinic and get an e-consultation and start your journey to a new you.