COSMETIC SURGERY TOURISM IN SOUTH KOREA
The cosmetics industry, including surgery, advertises in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore and offers vacation packages to Seoul. There is a significant number of tourists that come to Seoul particularly to get cosmetic surgery. Many of them come from China and elsewhere on Asian but some also come from the U.S., Middle East and Europe and even Africa in part because the costs are relatively loaw and the quality s good for the price.
More foreigners fly to South Korea every year to get cosmetic surgery.. Their numbers grew at an average annual rate of 75.6 percent from 2009 to 2012, increasing from 2,851 in 2009 to 15,428 in 2012, the highest of any medical specialty in South Korea, according to the Korea Health Industry Development Institute, ’s data on foreign patients. According to government data, overall medical spending by foreign visitors reached US$116 million in 2011. Fourteen percent sought plastic surgery or skin treatments such as botox. Almost a half of all foreigners seeking a nose job, a facelift, a jawbone reduction or a tummy tuck were from China. Their number nearly tripled from 1,657 in 2009 to 4,400 in 2010. [Source: AFP Relax News, April 20, 2012; Lee Woo Young, Korea Herald, November 29, 2013]
Patricia Marx wrote in The New Yorker: “Surgery tourists” from abroad make up about a third of the business in South Korea, and, of those, most come from China. One reason is that, throughout Asia, the “Korean wave” of pop culture (called hallyu) shapes not only what music you should listen to but what you should look like while listening to it. Cosmetic transformations can be so radical that some of the hospitals offer certificates of identity to foreign patients, who might need help convincing immigration officers that they’re not in the Witness Protection Program. [Source: Patricia Marx, The New Yorker, March 23, 2015]
One of the country's largest clinics, JK Plastic Surgery Center founded by Joo Kwon, has a hotel that serve customers, who spend an average of almost US$18,000 during a single visit. When asked why so many overseas clients fly to Seoul to for plastic surgery procedures and , Dr. Kim Byung Gun is the Chief Plastic Surgeon of BK Plastic Surgery Hospital said:
Patients coming from abroad need to be aware of their surgical procedures and must be prepared for short to long-term specialized surgical follow- up which is essential in order to get the best result and maximum satisfaction. Therefore, consultation before the surgery is exceptionally important. During your consultation, your consultant will inform you about all the details to your surgery and you will be properly guided by the surgeons and staff on the surgical procedures and how to prepare for the procedures. [Source: Karen Lee, fashionone.com, October 28, 2016]
K-Pop and K-Dramas and Cosmetic Surgery Tourism in South Korea
John Seabrook wrote in The New Yorker; The popularity of the K-pop idols has also brought Chinese, Japanese, and Singaporean “medical tourists” to Seoul to have their faces altered to look more like the Korean stars. Some hotels have partnered with hospitals so that guests can have in-house procedures; the Ritz-Carlton Seoul, for example, offers an eighty-eight-thousand-dollar “anti-aging beauty package.” Women come to have their cheekbones shaved down and undergo “double jaw surgery,” in which the upper and lower jawbones are cracked apart and repositioned, to give the whole skull a more tapered look. [Source: John Seabrook, The New Yorker, October 8, 2012]
AFP reported: “It was in the mid-2000s when South Korean plastic surgeon Joo Kwon noticed a trickle of Chinese women walking into his clinic, even though he hadn't advertised overseas. "They somehow found a way to the clinic... and nearly all of them said they want the face of Lee Young-Ae," Joo said, referring to a top South Korean actress who starred in the pan-Asian hit drama "Jewel in the Palace". The trickle has now turned into a flood of Chinese packing Joo's JK Plastic Surgery Centre — one of the country's largest — and many other clinics, lured by the looks of South Korean entertainers who have taken Asia by storm. [Source: AFP Relax News, April 20, 2012]
“A Hallyu (Korean wave) of pop culture over the past decade has won a devoted fan base in China, Southeast Asia and Japan. The South's TV dramas dominate prime-time airwaves and K-pop bands sell out concerts and top the charts. Legendary TV hits like "Winter Sonata" and "Autumn Fairy Tale" help draw tens of thousands of foreign fans to filming locations in South Korea every year, boosting the tourism industry.
“Now skilled plastic surgeons in the looks-obsessed South — who often helped beautify Korean stars in the first place — are enjoying an unexpected boom as they do the same for their foreign fans. "The Hallyu boom has definitely played a key role in drawing new patients from abroad," said Hong Jeong-Geun, spokesman for the Korea Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. Hong said many star-struck foreigners visit clinics with photos of celebrities like Kim Hee-Sun, a popular actress in Asia, and ask surgeons to emulate her nose angle or eyes. "They understand that some stars, rather than born beautiful, were made beautiful with a little bit of help from plastic surgeons," Hong told AFP.
"I want to have a face and skin like Song Hye-Gyo...or nose like Han Ga-In," the 24-year-old college student told AFP, referring to popular South Korean actresses. Many South Korean TV shows are aired with subtitles on Chinese websites only a day after being screened in Seoul. "Most of my friends who watch South Korean dramas want to come here to get surgery. They think plastic surgeons here are the best in Asia," said Guo.
Catering to Cosmetic Surgery Tourism in South Korea
AFP reported: Cut-throat competition among the country's growing number of plastic surgeons — who now number some 1,700 — made them even more aggressive in trying to lure new clients, he said. Joo's clinic in Seoul's affluent Gangnam district — home to more than 400 plastic surgery and skin-treatment clinics — is at the forefront of such efforts. About a half of its customers are non-Koreans, from China, Japan, the Middle East and even Africa. Patients picked up at the airport by limousines are greeted by staffers who speak English, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese or Mongolian. [Source: AFP Relax News, April 20, 2012]
“Joo declined to give the total number of patients at his clinic but said 10 doctors perform dozens of surgeries every day. The clinic recently opened its own hotel to better serve deep-pocketed foreigners who spend an average of about 20 million won (US$17,675) to get multiple surgery during a single visit. "I think there's a good chance that plastic surgery can become South Korea's new major export industry," said Joo.
“Policymakers have eased regulations, allocated a greater budget, staged presentations overseas and given awards to successful clinics to promote all kinds of medical tourism. "Medical tourism, plastic surgery included, will be a new growth driver for our economy....and the popularity of our stars is helping us a lot," said Jung Eun-Young, deputy director of the health ministry's policy department.
Lee Woo Young wrote in the Korea Herald: “As foreign patients are becoming more active in their choice of clinics, they include some travel preferences in their itineraries. According to the Korea Tourism Organization, 56.9 percent of tourists here on medical tourism went shopping or visited famous tourist spots in Korea during their surgery travels. The Chinese patient at Dr. Park’s clinic also said she planned to go shopping and sightseeing while she stayed in Dongdaemun, one of the popular shopping areas in Seoul for foreigners, for 10-days. [Source: Lee Woo Young, Korea Herald, November 29, 2013]
“The Korean tourism industry is stepping up to cater to the needs of these visiting patients. Major hotels in Seoul are teaming up with cosmetic surgery clinics and hospitals in offering accommodation and a diverse range of travel services. The Ritz-Carlton Seoul is among those arranging accommodation for foreign patients coming to visit nearby cosmetic surgery clinics in Gangnam. The hotel is also one of the few five-star hotels in Korea that has an in-house plastic surgery clinic.” In 2012 “it launched an US$88,000 “anti-aging package” that included a medical checkup, stem cell treatment, plastic surgery, skin care and spa treatment as well as access to the hotel’s restaurants. The package was popular among Chinese tourists. “The hotel has staff who are assigned to take care of Chinese guests here on medical tourism. We also plan to offer customized service such as one-on-one interpretation and shopping guides for major department stores in Seoul during their stay,” said a hotel staff member.
Cosmetic Surgery Tourists in South Korea
AFP reported: “Customers like Anny Guo are highly sought after. The daughter of a construction firm CEO in the northeastern Chinese city of Jilin, she flew to Seoul to get a nose job and make her high cheekbones less prominent. Her parents gave her 100,000 yuan (US$15,860) after she begged them for months. [Source: AFP Relax News, April 20, 2012]
Lee Woo Young wrote in the Korea Herald: “A Chinese woman entered Dr. Park Plastic Surgery in the “beauty Mecca” of Gangnam, known for its cluster of plastic surgery clinics, as the first patient on a Friday morning. She and her two friends were greeted by a Chinese staff interpreter in the lobby. An hour later, a second set of patients — a father and a daughter from Kazakhstan — came in, and were escorted by a staff interpreter who speaks Russian to examination rooms for a checkup. [Source: Lee Woo Young, Korea Herald, November 29, 2013]
“On one side of the wall in the lobby hang four plastic boards on which the curriculum vitae of the clinic’s doctor is written in Chinese, Japanese, Russian and Mongolian ? the four major foreign languages of patients who frequent the clinic. “Thirty percent of the patients at the clinic are foreigners, coming from China, Japan, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan,” said Park Jae-woo, a doctor at the clinic, in an interview with The Korea Herald. “Korean cosmetic surgery is among the best in the world … Many wealthy people are coming to Korea for cosmetic procedures and other people with average incomes are hoping they’ll be able to visit the country for cosmetic surgery in the future,” said the Chinese woman at Dr. Park Plastic Surgery through a Chinese interpreter. She wished to remain anonymous.
“According to the Chinese interpreter, most of the patients at the clinic are high-profile people in their country, including congressmen, high ranking government officials and CEOs. Doctors said that several factors that attract them to the Far Eastern country is the improved national image of Korea, combined with the immaculate appearances of Korean celebrities on dramas. “They want a sort of likeness (to Korean stars),” said Park.
But patients say it was personal recommendations from their friends and relatives that led them to come. “My aunt had plastic surgery here, as well as my aunt’s friends and her friends too. Their recommendations helped me choose this clinic,” said Gulsum Muratbay, a 32-year-old female patient from Kazakhstan, who’s staying in Seoul for 17 days for multiple procedures.
“Word of mouth and information provided by clinics are becoming two major information sources for foreign patients. “In the past, many patients had plastic surgery at hospitals they were introduced to through brokers or agencies. They didn’t have a choice when it came to finding the clinic that was best for them. Now, as clinics begin to offer information online and online consultation, more foreigners browse information online and talk to former patients before they make decisions,” said an official of ID Plastic Surgery Hospital in Gangnam, who wished to remain anonymous. Some brokers without legal licenses have often caused problems, asking for large commission fees, forcing plastic surgeons to overcharge foreign patients up to seven times more than usual or recommending unnecessary procedures. A few failed cases caused by illegal brokers have been reported in the Chinese media.
Shopping and Getting a Nose Job on the Same Seoul Trip
In 2009, Cheon Jong-woo and Angela Moon of Reuters wrote: “Foreign tourists, mainly from Japan and China, have been pouring into their smaller neighbour to snap up Louis Vuitton bags and get a nose job, sometimes on the same trip. The attraction? Thanks to a Korean won that has fallen in the past year by 40 percent against the yen alone, Asia's fourth largest economy has become cheap for foreigners. "Costs for plastic surgery here used to be just half of what it costs in the U.S. But with the foreign exchange rates, we charge about a third now," said Kim Byung-gun, chief plastic surgeon at BK DongYang Plastic Surgery Clinic in Seoul. "Foreign patients have doubled. I see infinite growth potential in the plastic surgery market for foreigners," said Kim. [Source: Cheon Jong-woo and Angela Moon, Reuters, April 3, 2009]
“Elaine Teo, a 35-year-old Singaporean, is a case in point. "You know, it's like using one stone to kill two birds," she told Reuters at a plastic surgery clinic in downtown Seoul where she was getting a facial wrinkle-lift. She expected to spend 2-3 days in hospital for the surgery. The rest of her 10-day holiday in Seoul was to be spent shopping.
“According to the Korea Tourism Organisation, the number of foreign visitors in the first two months of this year jumped 25.5 percent from a year ago. Tourists from Japan surged more than 64 percent and from China 16 percent. They are easy to spot in the streets of Seoul, laden with shopping bags from up-market department stores and duty-free shops. It was a similar story with the number of foreigners coming to South Korea for medical treatment jumping just over 60 percent to over 27,000, many of them on so-called "shopping & surgery" packages.
“It is proving a boon for the host country which is tipping into its first recession in over a decade and where locals are spending less and less. The government plans to allow local hospitals to hire marketing agencies to attract overseas customers from May and train more interpreters for foreign patients. "Tourists for medical services usually spend three to 10 times more than other foreign visitors. That is a great market we should boost," said Joung Jin-su, a director of strategy tourism product team at the Korea Tourism Organisation.
50,000 Cosmetic Surgery Tourists in Korea in 2017
Nearly 50,000 foreigners visited South Korea for cosmetic surgery in 2017, spending US$188.3 million and making the plastic surgery sector the country's most lucrative revenue source from medical tourists. According to a report by the Ministry of Health and Welfare on Thursday, 48,849 foreigners visited Korea in 2017 for cosmetic surgery, up 968 from 2016 and making up 12.3 percent of all medical tourists in the country and accounting for 33.6 percent of total revenue from foreign patients. Tourist spending in cosmetic surgery soared nearly fourfold from 2012. [Source: Sohn Il-seon and Kim Hyo-jin, pulsenews.co.kr, October 11, 2018]
pulsenews.co.kr reports: “While plastic surgery tourism has been on the rise, the total tally of medical tourists to Korea fell 6.5 percent on year to 397,882 in 2017. They also reduced their spending by 25.6 percent to 639.9 billion won. In patient counts, internal or general medicine had the most visits from non-Korean residents with a share of 20.2 percent. Cosmetic surgery and dermatology followed at 12.3 percent and 10.9 percent, respectively, showing that one fifth of medical tourists come to Korea for cosmetic purposes. Medical examination came fourth at 9.8 percent.
“When looking at the medical expenses per capita, cosmetic surgery was the highest at 4.4 million won, followed by general surgery at 2.98 million won, pediatrics at 2.77 million won and neurosurgery at 1.95 million won. “
Why Korean Cosmetic Surgery Is a Good Value
One of the keys to having a good cosmetic surgery experience is getting it right the first time and having everything you want done at one time. According to seoultouchup.com: “Rather than flying to Korea again and again for a different type of surgery each time, getting it all done at once and picking surgeries that are easier to harmonize the face will cut back on a lot of future spending. Furthermore, usually paying in cash for procedures will help you save more money. [Source: seoultouchup.com]
“Another popular destination for plastic surgery is in America. So, why choose Korea? On average, the surgeries are 30 to 50 percent more expensive in America than in Korea. Also, in America, every single thing is charged such as anesthesia, hospitalization fees, medication and pressure garment. However, if a person were to have eyelid surgery in Korea, everything is covered in the surgery price. (i.e. the US$2,000 covers everything from the surgery itself, to hospitalization fees, medication etc.)
“Many coming from Singapore have asked Seoul TouchUp if Korean plastic surgery is as cheap as in Thailand. The answer is “No”. Certainly less expensive alternatives can be found outside of Gangnam, but still within South Korea, realistically, prices won’t be as low as Thailand. While Thailand certainly offers lower prices, South Korea offers natural-looking results created by world-renowned doctors.
Plastic Surgery Trips to South Korea
Usually, when someone travels to South Korea for plastic surgery usually there is a waiting period between the request of surgery and for the surgery to take place. Some people — especially those in Asia who don’t have to fly so far and are rich — make two trips. The first to work out what they want done and the second to actually do the surgery. Others hire a broker to work out what procedures to be done, negotiate surgery prices and find places to stay. Other people stay for a while and combine their surgery with sightseeing and shopping. In addition to hundreds of clinics in Gangnam and elsewhere in Seoul, there are also many clinics in Busan and Daegu.
According to the broker seoultouchup.com: There are five likely scenarios for TouchUp customers. In the first case, if one has US$5,000 to US$10,000 in mind, the best surgeries to get would be the ones for eyes or nose. In the second case, if one has US$10,000 to spend in mind, the most popular option is to get both surgeries done for the eyes and nose. In the third case, higher up on the budget, if one has US$10,000 to US$20,000 to spend in mind, Seoul TouchUp’s recommendation is to work on the eyes, nose and facial bone contouring. In the fourth case, if one has US$20,000 to US$30,000 to spend in mind, any kind of face-related surgery can be done. Finally, if one has US$40,000 and over to spend in mind, then a full face and body makeover is certainly possible. [Source: seoultouchup.com]
On average, most medical tourists are suggested to stay for 7 to 14 days because the first phase of recovery is completed during that period. However, there are exceptions to this case such as an entire face makeover, an entire body makeover and/or a combination of the two. The following are special situations for these cases.
Special A: Entire Face Makeover: Stay for 14 days - 30 days: Related surgeries: Eyelid surgery, nose surgery, facial contouring including double jaw surgery, facelift. Special B: Entire Body Makeover. Stay for 21 days: body contouring, breast surgeries (reconstruction). Special A + B: Entire body and face makeover. Stay for 60 days
Most Plastic Surgery Tourists in Korea are Chinese
In 2018, seven out of every 10 foreigners who went to South Korea for cosmetic surgery came from China, according to a Chinese newspaper report. Almost a half of all foreigners seeking a nose job, a facelift, a jawbone reduction or a tummy tuck in 2011 were from China. Their number nearly tripled from 1,657 in 2009 to 4,400 in 2010. [Source: AFP, South China Morning Post]
According to the Korea Health Industry Development Institute 118,310 patients from China visited South Korean in 2018, accounting for 31 per cent of all foreign patients who visited the country that year. Of those patients, 21.4 per cent had travelled to South Korea for plastic surgery while 17.8 per cent were for skin treatment. The number of Chinese plastic surgery patients who visited South Korea reached 27,852 in 2018, a 30 per cent jump from 21,477 in 2017. In 2014, as many as 56,000 Chinese tourists visited South Korea for cosmetic surgery. [Source: Park Chan-kyong, South China Morning Post, January 31, 2020]
The South China Morning Post reported: “Visitors from the mainland made 56,000 trips to South Korea for cosmetic procedures in 2014, the National Business Daily reported, citing figures from the Ministry of Health Dr Lee Chung Hun, an expert in hotel management and tourism at Sejong University in Seoul, was quoted as saying that each Chinese visitor spent on average over 10,000 yuan (HKUS$12,700) on cosmetic surgery in 2013. [Source: South China Morning Post, June 3, 2019]
“The most popular procedure among Chinese visitors was injecting fillers into the skin to remove wrinkles, the report said There are several hundred clinics in Seoul and most have signs in Chinese welcoming visitors from the mainland South Korea received only 4,700 Chinese medical tourists in 2009, but that figure has since grown over ten fold, the report said The authorities launched a crackdown on unlicensed clinics in February after a 50-year-old woman from China was left in a coma the previous month after undergoing surgery
“The health ministry unveiled a raft of measures drafted in response to a growing number of complaints over botched jobs and exorbitant billing, many of them filed by Chinese who travel specifically to South Korea for cosmetic procedures “Because of inadequate information and the language barrier, there have been quite a few safety problems, which have affected the image of South Korea’s plastic surgery industry,” Dr Lee was quoted as saying in the newspaper report “Another case to receive widespread publicity involved Jin Weikun, a young Chinese woman who took part in a television reality show in January to receive a facial and breast surgery in South Korea “She said her face and nose had been disfigured and she is taking legal action
Chinese Korean-Drama Fans Flock to Seoul for Cosmetic Surgery
Anna Fifield wrote in the Washington Post, “All around the southern Seoul district of Gangnam — the area of conspicuous consumption made famous by the hit song “Gangnam Style” — Chinese women walk down the street with bandages over their faces and around their heads. Some, despite hoodies pulled up and parasols pulled down, are so badly bruised and swollen that they look as if they’ve just survived a car accident — if only barely. They’re riding the latest crest of the Korean Wave: plastic surgery. [Source: Anna Fifield, Washington Post, August 26, 2014 ~]
“Korean cultural exports — especially the manufactured “K-Pop” music and schmaltzy soap operas — have become a phenomenon across Asia. There’s a huge following in China, in particular, and an increasing number of fans are coming to South Korea not just for shopping and sightseeing, but also for nips and tucks — and more. “Naturally, Korean dramas and K-Pop has a lot to do with it,” said Hong Sung-bum, a plastic surgeon and the director of the BK Hospital, a 15-story building in Gangnam devoted to various kinds of cosmetic additions or subtractions, which employs 30 Chinese-speaking staff. “There are lots of Chinese patients who come here asking to look like a certain Korean Wave star,” he said in his office, still wearing his blue scrubs and rubber clogs. On the desk sat a skull wearing a Burberry-pattern headband. ~
“Right now, the hottest look is Jun Ji-hyun, the star of “My Love From the Star,” a soap opera with an unlikely story line: An alien accidentally arrives on Earth 400 years ago, meets an arrogant female pop star and falls in love. Women covet not just Jun’s wardrobe and her lifestyle, but her face, too. But don’t think this is just a female thing. A considerable number of men want to look more like Kim Soo-hyun, who plays the alien character.~
“As the Korean government promotes ever-closer economic relations with China, it is busily promoting a “Korean medical wave.” The Korean Tourism Organization regularly organizes plastic surgery expos in Beijing and Shanghai, where K-Pop singers and dancers perform and women learn how to do their makeup like Korean Wave stars. Groups of doctors offer advice to prospective patients. “We tell them that these people are not just doctors, they’re beauty designers,” said Kim Su-jin, an official at the KTO’s medical tourism division. The Korean surgery craze is part of a broader boom in tourism from China and comes as arrivals from Japan have fallen sharply amid worsening geo―political tensions. ~
“The Korean plastic surgery craze creates big business in China, too. Chinese travel agencies offer tour packages that combine several days of sightseeing with longer periods of plastic surgery. Ocean International Travel Service offers a typical five-day tour for about $1,000, surgeries not included. The plastic surgery industry has become so dominant in Gangnam that some intersections feature clinics on all four corners. The underpasses to the subway station are wallpapered with ads for cosmetic enhancements.” ~
Chinese Who Seek Cosmetic Surgery in South Korea
Anna Fifield wrote in the Washington Post, “According to KTO figures, 56,075 Chinese visitors had medical treatment in South Korea last year, rising 26.5 percent from the previous year and up from just 4,725 in 2009. (Not all of them had plastic surgery: The numbers for 2013 have not yet been released, but almost 10,000 Chinese had plastic surgery in Korea in 2012.) ~ [Source: Anna Fifield, Washington Post, August 26, 2014 ~]
“The Korean dramas definitely had an effect on my decision to come here,” said Xu Xiao Hong, a 28-year-old office worker from Tsingtao, who was visiting the BK clinic during a shopping trip to Korea. “I think Korean actresses are very beautiful,” she said. Carefully made up and trendily dressed in short shorts and platform sandals, she cut a stylish figure. What’s more, she had a megawatt smile.~
But Xu said she had a complex about her cheekbones. They were too prominent, she said, and she wanted to find out about having them fixed. “Normally it doesn’t bother me, but when I see myself in photos, all I can see is my cheeks,” she said in one of the consultation rooms at BK. She is getting married next year and wants her wedding pictures to be perfect. Her fiance — who, she said, had no complaints about her appearance — knew she was in Korea but not that she was consulting a plastic surgeon. “If the consultation goes well, I will talk to my boyfriend and my parents about it,” she said. “It’s a pretty big operation.” ~
“Sitting up in a hospital bed in a recovery room at BK, with a blue mask over her mouth and a drip in her arm, Chen Mao said she started aging more rapidly when she hit 35 three years ago and wanted to do something about it. She had fat from her midriff injected into her face to smooth out the lines, a procedure that she said appealed to her because it didn’t involve going under the knife. “I want to look more youthful, and with this procedure, I can have a better texture,” Chen said, patting her bandages. ~
“On this trip, she’s been seeing some tourist sites, doing a lot of shopping and eating in nice restaurants. “I’ve done a lot to help the Korean economy,” she laughed, estimating that she had spent a total of $8,000. As with Xu, it was the Korean Wave that washed her ashore here. “I know that Korean celebrities’ beauty is not natural, and I know that they all have their surgeries done in Gangnam,” she said. “So I wanted to be like them and invest my time and money here, too.” ~
Cosmetic Surgery Procedures Chinese Seek in South Korea
Anna Fifield wrote in the Washington Post, “While the most common procedures are operations to make Caucasian-style double-eyelids (with clinics charging $700 to $1,500) and nose jobs ($1,500 to $4,500), a sizable proportion of patients, like Xu, want “facial contouring” — invasive surgery that involves shaving or chopping away bones. [Source: Anna Fifield, Washington Post, August 26, 2014 ~]
One particularly common procedure — which Hong, the surgeon, calls “super smile surgery” — is for patients who think their chins are too prominent. It involves cutting whole sections out of their jawbones so that their entire mouth and chin can be pushed back. Although it takes only three hours, the recovery takes a good six months. ~
“There have been reports of women suffering from severe complications — such as jaws that no longer meet — and even deaths during some of the more invasive operations. But Hong says the most common risk is patient dissatisfaction. “This is not a clothing store where you can shop for the clothes that Jun wears,” Hong says. “When a patient comes in and says that they want to look like her, we go through a consultation process and try to find a halfway point.” ~
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons.
Text Sources: South Korean government websites, Korea Tourism Organization, Cultural Heritage Administration, Republic of Korea, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Library of Congress, CIA World Factbook, World Bank, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, “Culture and Customs of Korea” by Donald N. Clark, Chunghee Sarah Soh in “Countries and Their Cultures”, “Columbia Encyclopedia”, Korea Times, Korea Herald, The Hankyoreh, JoongAng Daily, Radio Free Asia, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, BBC, AFP, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.
Updated in July 2021