Plastic surgery tourism on the rise in South Korea

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People from all of the world are flocking to South Korea for a little nip and tuck (KTRK)

If you need a little tweak to your nose or a lift to your eyes, there is certainly no shortage of plastic surgeons in Texas, willing to help you look better. But going under the knife can be very expensive in America.

What if you can pay less, get a vacation, and a little nip and tuck all rolled into one? More and more people are taking advantage of a concept called plastic surgery tourism. Seoul, South Korea, is the epicenter of that trend.

Take a quick walk down a busy street in Seoul or flip on the television and it is obvious, big eyes, small nose, and little chin, there's a certain look in South Korea. Korean women are not shy about achieving that particular look. Because of the popularity of plastic surgery in this Asian mega city, Rou Rou Wang traveled all the way from China to get some work done.

"I think, a girl, has to have big eyes," she said.

Why Seoul? It's estimated that 1-5 South Korean woman has undergone some sort of plastic surgery. That means the doctors here operate a lot.

"The techniques and the results are way better, now days, than other countries," said Dr. Martina Paik, a board certified plastic surgeon who works at JK Plastic Surgery, one of the biggest cosmetic surgery practices in Seoul.

The combination of experienced doctors and affordable prices have made plastic surgery tourism is a booming business. It's also why Mary Mamonova decided to get a consultation.

"I never even thought about plastic surgery," she said. Still, this Moscow resident is tempted to get a nose job. For a fraction of the cost in Europe, and the time it takes to see the sights, she could get a new profile.

"Yeah more small -- maybe a bit narrower too? Because it's kind of like I could dig ground with it," laughed Mamonova, when asked to describe her own nose.

The accommodations at JK is plush. Patients having minor procedures can recover in a day room. However, if you are having a number of procedures all at once, there is a full service hotel, right upstairs. Need to go shopping? The practice has its own line of handbags and skin care products. Don't speak the language? There are multi-lingual assistants to guide you.

"We have pick up service at the airport, and when they come, registration, consultation, surgery and post-operative, I help every step," said Lucy Lee, patient consultant at JK.

The full service package approach has proved to be very attractive for foreign patients. JK says its foreign patients are on the rise, with more coming every year. As for Rourou Wang, the patient from China, she says she's very happy with the outcome.

"Just like me, more beautiful. I don't want to be a star, just more beautiful," she said. Wang plans to return in a year or so for more procedures. Next time, she says she wants to slim down her face. If the current trend is any indication, there will be more foreign patients joining her for the visit.

Related Topics:
healthu.s. & worldplastic surgery
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