The influence of Korea on beauty routines worldwide is absolutely undeniable. K-beauty has taken the skincare industry by storm, leading to the explosive popularity of sheet masks, essences, double cleansing, elaborate product layering, glass skin and other buzzy beauty trends.
But global consumers aren’t just turning to Korea for skincare inspiration. Korean plastic surgery is also booming, both at home and abroad.
Today, South Korea is widely known as the “plastic surgery capital of the world”. The country is home to more than 600 clinics, according to 2014 data from the National Tax Service of South Korea. More than half of South Korea’s plastic surgery clinics are located in Seoul, and 74.8 per cent of those are located in the ritzy Gangnam neighbourhood.
What makes Korean plastic surgery so unique? And do you have to travel to South Korea to get it? Today we’re answering some of your top questions about the art and science of Korean plastic surgery.
How Popular Is Plastic Surgery in South Korea?
South Korea boasts the highest rate of cosmetic surgery per capita worldwide, by some industry estimates. A Gallup Korea survey found that one in three South Korean women between the ages of 19 and 29 said they've had some kind of surgical procedure. Other sources say the number is higher — possibly even 50 per cent or more.
In a 2015 report, the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery estimated that over 445,140 cosmetic surgical procedures were performed in South Korea that year, representing 4.6 per cent of the worldwide total. That figure put the country in fourth place for the highest number of surgical procedures in the world, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico.
Korean plastic surgery is not just popular with locals. Hundreds of thousands of foreigners visit the country to undergo medical treatments each year. In fact, medical tourism is so big in South Korea that Seoul’s Incheon International Airport once considered opening a cosmetic surgery centre inside a terminal. (The plan was scrapped after doctors spoke out about the dangers of travelling too soon after a procedure.)
How Did Korean Plastic Surgery Become So Big?
According to the Korean Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, plastic surgery entered mainstream South Korean culture in the late 1950s, following the war between North Korea and South Korea. US military and United Nations medical personnel travelled to South Korea to perform reconstructive surgery on the war’s many wounded, bringing new techniques into the country.
In addition, Korean students who studied overseas acquired new medical knowledge and helped inspire the beginning of plastic surgery education in South Korean universities. Plastic surgery has been recognised as an independent specialty in the medical field in South Korea since 1964.
Why Do People Have Korean Plastic Surgery?
Like any kind of surgery, anywhere in the world, Korean plastic surgery patients have various reasons for undergoing cosmetic enhancement. Some concerns that are common among Korean patients and other Asian patients include:
- Bulbous nasal tip
- Flat nasal bridge
- Wide nostrils
- Small or “tired-looking” eyes
- Overly prominent cheekbones
- Protruding chin
- Weak or receding chin
- Square, bulky or masculine jaw
- Small breasts
- Large areolas and/or nipples
- Facial volume loss
What Are the Most Popular Korean Plastic Surgery Procedures?
The most popular plastic surgery procedures for Asian patients address the concerns listed above. For the face, blepharoplasty (also called “eyelid surgery” or sometimes “double eyelid surgery”) to create an upper eyelid crease is a widely requested procedure. Rhinoplasty, facial fat grafting and bone contouring are popular ways to reshape a specific facial feature or enhance the shape and proportions of the face overall.
For the body, many Asian women choose to undergo breast augmentation surgery. This can be done with breast implants or with fat grafting, depending on the patient’s goals. Learn more about popular plastic surgery procedures for Asian patients here.
How Good Is Korean Plastic Surgery?
The simple answer is this: the results of Korean plastic surgery — and any kind of plastic surgery — are only as good as the surgeon who does it. A one-size-fits-all approach seldom delivers quality results in the realm of cosmetic procedures, especially when a patient’s ethnic characteristics must be taken into account. These are some things to consider when choosing a surgeon:
Is the surgeon a fully qualified specialist plastic surgeon?
Does the surgeon demonstrate that they meet the highest standards of knowledge, training and expertise in plastic surgery?
- Does the surgeon specialise in providing care for Asian patients?
- Does the surgeon understand Asian anatomy and aesthetic preferences?
- Does the surgeon use state-of-the-art equipment and techniques?
- Is patient safety a top priority for the surgeon and their team?
- Do you like what you see in the surgeon’s before and after pictures?
- Does the surgeon provide focused and personalised attention?
Where Can You Get Korean Plastic Surgery in Sydney?
In Australia, interest in Korean plastic surgery continues to grow. More and more patients want to find surgeons who understand Asian anatomy, Asian beauty standards and Asian surgical techniques without having to travel overseas. Visiting a practice that specialises in Asian plastic surgery is the best way to ensure you’ll get the experience you’re looking for without leaving home.
Asian Plastic Surgery was founded with this in mind. Led by two specialist plastic surgeons, our clinic offers unparalleled results for patients of Asian descent. Our surgeons perform a wide range of procedures for the face, breast and body, always with an eye toward preserving cultural heritage while minimising patients’ cosmetic concerns.
Contact Sydney’s Asian Plastic Surgery to Schedule a Consultation
Asian patients deserve more than a cookie-cutter approach to cosmetic surgery. At Asian Plastic Surgery, our fully qualified specialist plastic surgeons utilise advanced surgical methods designed with the Asian population in mind. They understand the distinctive anatomical challenges Asian patients face, as well as the unique beauty and elegance of Asian features. Our patients can be assured their procedures will cater to their cultural identity, ensuring beautiful and natural-looking results.