How to Choose a Reliable Plastic Surgery Clinic in Korea.

How to Choose a Reliable Plastic Surgery Clinic in Korea

4 Tips for Choosing a Reliable Plastic Surgery Clinic in Korea: A Must-Read before Coming to Korea for Plastic Surgery Shopping.

As a consultant for foreign patients at JW Plastic Surgery Korea, it is easy to see many patients having plastic surgery shopping in Korea. Plastic surgery shopping is a sort of medical tourism. Patients have face to face consultation at multiple clinics, and compare them, to choose the best clinic for them. This is supposed to help them to make the right decision. However, as a mega capital of plastic surgery, Seoul has a lot of plastic surgery clinics. The clinics has become competitive. To convince plastic surgery shopper, the clinics developed themselves to attract patients with luxurious interior, attractively cheap prices, or aggressive marketing, which makes plastic surgery shoppers even more confused. This can lead to shoppers choosing an unreliable clinic which can end in needing revisional surgery and costing  the shoppers twice the price. The reason why I am writing this posting is to help patients be able to choose a reliable plastic surgery clinic in Korea.

A thank you letter from a JW patient

JW Plastic Surgery Korea’s top priorities are their patient’s safety and providing satisfactory results. Today, I am going to tell how we achieve a high level of patient satisfaction while keep our patients safe, as well as 4 tips on how to choose a reliable plastic surgery clinic in Korea just like our clinic.

1. The Available Consultation Times and Surgery Slots are Set at Certain Times. 

From a common-sense standpoint, all workers have a certain set of hours they work per day which generally is 8 or 9 hours a day. Based on this you should consider:

  • If the clinic is available for the whole day to have consultations
  • If the famous doctor at the clinic is available any time you want
  • If surgery is available at any time with short notice

These would indicate that the doctor probably doesn’t have patients, or the clinic uses shadow doctors or ghost doctors (the doctor doing the surgery and consultation is different). In other words, this can indicate there are problems with this clinic and you should probably avoid going there.

For example, typical surgeries take about 2~5 hours depending on the procedures. If we consider the typical working hour per day, the number of surgeries a doctor could perform is about 2~3 per day, though again this depends on  the type of procedure.  Therefore, in terms of a surgeon who is popular, their surgery slots are generally booked 2 weeks to 1 month in advance. In regards to consultation, the doctors are only available before or after each of their surgeries. Based on that we can typically expect that consultations will be available:

  1. In the morning (before 1st surgery on the day)
  2. Afternoon (between 1st surgery and 2nd surgery of the day)
  3. 30 min~1 hour before closing time (after 2nd surgery of the day)

Of course, it is not always exact. We do need to consider each clinic’s systems as well as unexpected cancellation, but normally if the clinic is always available for a consultation and surgery without reservation, you should be suspicious of the clinic.

A thank you letter from a JW patient

JW Plastic Surgery Team consist of senior surgeons with at least 10~20 years of experience. We severely restrict the number of available surgeries per doctor to 2~3 surgeries per day. This allows us to increase the quality of each surgery and increase patient satisfaction. Through our designated-doctor system, the doctor who has consultation with the patient will also perform the surgery and the post-operative care. As a result, JW Plastic Surgery Clinic has had no-accident and no-litigation since it opened 19 years ago. These are also the reason why most of surgery slots are booked at least one month in advance of the surgery date. At JW Plastic Surgery Korea, it is highly recommended to make arrangements for surgery before you come to Korea if you are only planning to stay in Korea for a short period of 1 or 2 weeks.

2.  Is the Doctor a Board-Certified Surgeon?

We can often see many general surgeons who majored in ENT, Eye, thoracic surgery, internal medicine, and dermatology open plastic surgery clinics and perform plastic surgery procedures. Usually, these doctors will open plastic surgery clinic after they have worked for plastic surgery clinics and have learned from a board-certified plastic surgeon. Doctors who do this typically lack the experience and ability to perform difficult operations or handle emergency situations.

So for example, a plastic surgery is different from cancer removal surgery. A cancer removal surgery is considered a successful surgery when a tumor is completely removed ; however, to have a successful plastic surgery result, we need to consider many different aspects such as the asymmetry, the functional improvement, the scarring, and the shape and design that the patient requires. It is easy to see the differences in the condition of scarring between a board-certified plastic surgeon who sutures with their understanding of aesthetic compared to a general surgeon who sutures just to finalize the surgery.

What I hear often from patients during consultation is that “Should I have had my rhinoplasty done by an ENT doctor? because I want to have aesthetic and functional improvement”. The answer is that the functional issue which can be corrected by surgery can be improved by a few machines and technique during the surgery. However, if you want to improve both the aesthetical and functionality, it is better to have rhinoplasty done by a board-certified plastic surgeons.

How to distinguish a board-certified plastic surgeon:
Most sign are written in Korean, so it is quite difficult to distinguish a board-certified surgeon or not by a sigh or a website alone.
It is important to ask during a consultation whether the surgeon who will be doing the surgery is a board-certified plastic surgeon. You can search the doctor’s name in this website. This website is a portal for Korean plastic surgeons, so if the surgeon is board-certified, you will find their name here.

PRS Korea

You can find all of the surgeons at JW Plastic Surgery Korea on this website.

-Dr. Suh,Mankoon
-Dr. Seul,ChulHwan
-Dr. Choi,HongLim
-Dr. Lee,SeungJong
-Dr. Kang,Hongdae
-Dr. Kim,YeonJun

3. I or My Caregiver Can See CCTV during the Surgery?


Nowadays, many foreign patients have heard about ‘shadow doctors’ or ‘ghost doctor’ and they would like to avoid having their surgery done by unknown doctors.
‘Shadow doctor’ is a term used for doctors who hide in the back and perform surgeries instead of the famous surgeon without the patient’s knowledge because of their poor reputation or lack of experience. By using shadow doctors, clinics achieve many benefits.
  • The clinic can easily hold on to patients because the famous doctor with a good reputation is available to meet the patient at their convenience.
  • Surgery can be done at any time without making a reservation in advance. The clinics doesn’t take a deposit to hold the slot because the slot can be easily replaced.
In many ways, this makes patients feel more comfortable and secure because they are able to pick any time they want to have surgery after they have had a face to face consultation. Due to these benefits, many plastic surgery clinics still carry on with this system. Before I started working at JW plastic Surgery Korea, I had plastic surgery at other clinics and unfortunately, even as a local Korean, I experienced a clinic using shadow doctors. So it is always important to ask and check to make sure everything is safe before you move forward with surgery.
No shadow doctor at JW
JW Plastic Surgery Korea records and films the JW facilities to prevent any possibility of small accident, and patients can see the live-record anytime at JW.

5. Is There an In-House Translator?

 Medical translation is very difficult so having an in-house professional translator is very important.  Even though people have lived in an English-based country for a long time, it is difficult to understand and explain surgery processes without studying it. This can lead to dissatisfaction or medical malpractice due to miscommunication and wrong translations. Also, some patients will find an illegal broker when trying to hire a translator. Patients can be convinced by these illegal broker/translators to choose an unsuitable clinic because of the relationship between the clinic and the illegal broker such as providing commission when the illegal broker brings patients. So whether a clinic has in-house professional translators or not is also important when choosing a reliable plastic surgery clinic in Korea.

At JW Plastic Surgery Clinic, we have in-house translators for 7 different languages, and we are all trained by the doctors directly 1~2 times per month so that we can continue to achieve high patient satisfaction with our professional translation service.

A thank you letter from a JW patient

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