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Traveling to Seoul for Plastic surgery

2023-09-15 14:31:44

Traveling to Seoul for Plastic surgery

What are the advantages and disadvantages of traveling to Seoul for medical tourism?

Surge in medical tourism Korea

In this article, we will focus on the major benefits and drawbacks of traveling to Seoul, Korea to undergo surgery. Medical tourism, as the name suggests, is a form of tourism where individuals travel to a specific destination for surgery, treatment, or other beauty and medical reasons. Recently, the popularity of this form of tourism, particularly in Seoul City, has significantly increased due to competitive prices and exceptional quality.

South Korea anticipates a rise in the number of medical tourists to almost 1 million people in 2020, compared to 598,000 in 2015. Consequently, the revenue from medical tourism is expected to reach 3.5 trillion won in 2020, up from 1.01 trillion won in 2013. The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) predicts that the average per capita spending in Korea by medical tourists will increase from 2.53 million won in 2013 to 3.56 million won in 2020.


Increased expenditure by medical tourists

The increase in average spending by medical tourists does not indicate a rise in the cost of specific surgeries or treatments. Rather, it signifies that individuals are choosing to undergo multiple procedures when visiting Seoul.

For instance, a person may initially come for dental work but also decide to receive laser skin treatment or another skincare procedure that Korean doctors excel in. Similarly, many individuals opt to undergo dental work in conjunction with facial surgery after learning about the competitive prices and shorter treatment times available. The lower prices can be attributed to the relatively lower labor costs combined with a more competitive beauty and medical industry.

Emerging areas of medical tourism: LASIK and Hair Transplants

LASIK/LASEK eye surgery and hair transplants are two less commonly associated areas of medical tourism. However, these procedures are gaining popularity among medical tourists. Korea is known for its high prevalence of poor eyesight, which has led to the development of numerous eye clinics specializing in eye operations and vision correction. These clinics often offer these services at very reasonable prices, with LASIK starting as low as 500-600 US dollars. Hair transplant and hair loss clinics are also experiencing an increase in medical tourists, primarily due to cost advantages.

Full hair transplant surgery in Seoul, South Korea costs about 5,000 to 6,000 US dollars, which is 50-60% less than the cost in the United States.

One significant advantage of these various clinics and procedures is that consultation is typically free. As a customer, you have the freedom to explore different options and weigh the costs and benefits before making a decision.

Cutting-edge medical technology and research

Shorter treatment times can be attributed to advancements in technology and equipment. Many dental clinics in Seoul can now create a 3D printed crown replacement on-site, eliminating the need for multiple visits spread over several days or weeks. Additionally, research on recovery and post-operation care has resulted in faster healing times, allowing patients to enjoy sightseeing and shopping while in Seoul.

In summary, the benefits of traveling to Seoul for medical tourism include high quality, competitive prices, ongoing research, and an overall medical industry catering to the needs of incoming tourists seeking specialized services.


Now let's consider some of the downsides. The rise in medical tourists also poses a risk of unscrupulous clinics seeking to exploit unsuspecting individuals. It is essential to conduct thorough research before visiting any clinic. Although there may be a few subpar doctors or clinics that take advantage of patients' limited knowledge about procedures and costs, the Seoul government is continuously working to improve regulations and ensure that clinics and doctors possess appropriate licenses and certifications. For this reason, it is advisable to use a trusted medical tourism provider, such as Shin Medical.

Time and Post-Operation Considerations

Traveling to Korea requires time and can be physically demanding, as you may need to take a week or more out of your schedule. Post-operation recovery time can further prolong your stay unless you choose to fly back home early and recover there. Additionally, one minor disadvantage is that you cannot easily visit your doctor whenever you wish. If you choose a doctor and clinic in your home country, it would be more convenient. However, most medical ointments and products are available worldwide, including at your local pharmacy.

Government Medical Partnerships

The local government has established partnerships with numerous clinics across various specialties. Known as medical partners, these clinics provide transparency and information regarding their offerings and accepted insurances. Gangnam-gu medical tourism, for example, collaborates with medical centers and institutions that meet specific criteria, such as suitable facilities, high-quality services, and safety standards, to attract foreign patients and facilitate various medical tourism activities.

It is important to note that clinics not listed as medical partners are not necessarily unsafe. The presence of medical partners simply indicates that these institutions meet certain criteria.

Validated by My Guide Seoul

Lastly, we would like to recommend the clinics listed on our site. These clinics have experience in treating international patients, English-speaking staff, and we have personally visited the clinic on-site and met with the coordinators in charge of foreign patients, as well as their doctors. While there may be some overlap with the Gangnam-gu medical partners, the absence of medical partners does not imply any shortcomings in the clinics' surgical abilities or treatment quality.

Recommended Clinics


For reliable and affordable LASIK and LASEK surgery, we recommend B&VIIT vision correction clinic.

For hair transplants, we suggest visiting Maxwell Hair clinic.

For Brazilian Butt Lifts, we recommend Lydian for establishing a maintenance plan for your figure and post-surgery care after 10 years.

For plastic surgery, we recommend View plastic surgery and 1mm. However, all the clinics listed on our site are reputable and suitable for initial consultations before making your final decision.

For dermatology and non-invasive "petite surgery," we would suggest visiting Modelo Skin clinic.

Our favorite choice for spa and beauty treatments is Spa 1899.

For dental work, we highly recommend Minish Dental, the top dental clinic in Asia.