SEOUL (Reuters) – China’s embassy in Seoul has warned citizens against the dangers of having plastic surgery done in South Korea, from the risk of death to major facial changes that make it difficult to pass through immigration checks.
South Korea is one of the world’s most popular destinations for medical tourism, canvassing foreign patients in the past decade, the bulk of whom come from China and the United States, data provider Statista says.
“In recent years, many foreigners have come to South Korea for cosmetic surgery, and some people have been involved in medical disputes and surgical failures and even deaths have occurred,” the Chinese embassy said in a note to the public.
The note follows the death this month of a Chinese woman after receiving liposuction surgery three times at a plastic surgery clinic in the Gangnam area of the capital, the Yonhap news agency said on Wednesday, citing police.
Reuters could not immediately reach a representative of the Korean Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons to seek comment outside business hours.
The embassy asked citizens to be wary of advertising and take note of the risks, while choosing intermediaries carefully and checking the legitimacy of medical institutions or surgeons, signing clear contracts and retaining full records.
“If there is a major change in (your) postoperative appearance, or if you are still in the postoperative recovery stage, you should bring the surgical certificate when you leave the country,” the embassy added.
Such a precaution would help avoid complications with check-in or subsequent entry and exit procedures, it said.
South Korea had 2,718 plastic surgeons in 2022, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, a number similar to China’s estimated 3,000 surgeons, despite a population that is 28 times the size of South Korea’s.
(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)