Published On: Mon, Aug 29th, 2016

Seoul – The Global Plastic Surgery Capital

Seoul - The Global Plastic Surgery Capital The plastic surgent Jung Young Choo and celebrity



Seoul, Korea – Not many are aware, but Seoul, South Korea, is considered the Mecca of plastic surgery in the world. It leads with more procedures per capita than any other nation, with over a 1 million recorded operations in 2015. That’s about 20 procedures per 1, 000 people, putting it ahead of the US’s 13 procedures per 1, 000. Korea has had the most operations per capita since 2009.

As a tourist in Seoul, you can’t ignore hundreds of plastic surgery billboards with gorgeous looking young and older women. Just by travelling in the metro in the mega city, you come across many young girls who look alike, with similar nose and an eyelid jobs.

Many scholars with whom I spoke, suggested that due to the fact that Korea is a very competitive society people who look better have an advantage in the job market, especially since a photo is included with a résumé for most jobs.

The affluent neighborhood of Gangnam in Seoul, reportedly has 500 aesthetic centers alone. One of the leading plastic surgery clinics is JK Plastic Surgery. “Eyelid surgery is obviously the most popular, says Dr. Kim Sung Sik. Unlike many Westerners, most Koreans have “monolid” eyes, which means there isn’t an eyelid crease. Some see the double lid as a sign of beauty, though others argue it comes from an idealization of Western norms. The other popular procedures are nose job, breast implants, liposuction and face sculpture, mainly of the jaw. Some women go too far and go through a complete makeover of their face structure which is a very complicated procedure and sometimes could be damaging as well.

It’s not just about women. Dr. Kim says that 15% to 20% of his clinic’s clients are men, and the most common procedure is blepharoplasty, or double eyelid surgery. He states that that the future of cosmetic surgery depends on stem cells, which can be used in skin treatments.

It seems, that not only locals have discovered the fountain of youth. In the last 5 years, exclusive international patient services popped up like mushrooms. The excellent experience and great results of Korean plastic surgeons got a worldwide fame. Eventually, they translated their expertise into a prosperous business similar to other medical tourism fields which are on the rise with the support of the Korean government.

HERSHE understands the complex concerns patients have before their surgery. HERSHE Plastic surgery guarantees patient’s safety and delivers comprehensive and personalized beauty solutions by plastic surgery specialists with exceptional experience and expertise. Their goal being a result which is unique to an individual to achieve their natural beauty. At the same time, explains Vanessa, HERSHE offers premium patient services by offering a comfortable ambience to their patients, and ensuring the best plastic surgery experience in Korea.

“ The number of our international patients from China is increasing by 60% every year, as we advertise a medical tour package, transport services, as well as after care services, and also help patients with booking accommodations”, declares, Vanessa Oh , who leads me into the luxurious clinic in Gangnam . Her English skills have positioned her into a PR job to communicate with the growing numbers of foreign patients.

On the wall, where the interview takes place, there are dozens of pictures of famous Korean celebrities who went through some plastic surgery procedures, smiling besides their beloved surgeon, Dr. Jung Young Choo, Hershe clinic President and the leading surgeon. “Yes, the celebrities’ cosmetic surgery trend had a great impact on the young generation”, says Vanessa and adds up smiling: “Every teenager girl or a boy wishes to be look like them”.

The K-Pop, the world wide famous Korean pop culture phenomena, has definitely an impact on the young generation. Many young girls wish to copy their idols, and get an eyelid job as a graduation gift from their parents. It does arouse some protest from conservative parents; however, social peer group pressure usually trumps the parents wishes.


Seoul - The Global Plastic Surgery Capital - Jung Young Choo-President and  plastic surgent - Hershe clinic


Hershe clinic, like other leading clinics, recognizes the complex concerns regarding the limited time of international patients. Hence, the health centers offer an exclusive post operation care for the international patients to enhance the recovery. One of the incentives Hershe offers its international patient, is a laser treatment with the post operation care provided as a complimentary service.

Dr. Choo is proud of the usage of stem cells for skin treatment. “We are recognized by patients for high safety standards and guaranteed results”. The soft spoken surgeon who deals with plastic surgery for about 26 years doesn’t see anything special or awkward in this booming trend in Korea. “People usually don’t like the way they look and wish to stay young forever, so I help them to feel better about themselves.”

In one of the many corridors and rooms in the prestigious clinic, I came across a patient who was completely wrapped up with bandages. Later on, the medical team pointed out that he is a Russian patient, 58, who had a complete makeover…”Yes, he wished to look 20 years younger”, explained Dr. Choo and mentions the fact that many of his clientele come from Russia.

Among the medical tourists who come for a makeover to Korea are from China, Japan, Philippines Indonesia, Singapore, Burma and Australia. They are enticed by a relatively reasonable fee and the high quality of doctor’s expertise.

Yehudit Haspel Ben-Dak was a guest of the Korean Embassy in Israel and of the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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