The demand for overseas travel for medical-related purposes has, yearly, around 1.5 million U.S residents booking foreign destinations for a mixture of sun, fun, cuisine, cultural art——and “elective” Cosmetic/Plastic Surgeries. South Korea’s government, knowing that this trend is on the rise has made their bid to capture a large share of that market. Just recently, “….. the Korean government lifted a ban against advertisements for medical services and instead began staffing new medical information centers for tourists. The Council for Korea Medicine Overseas Promotion has developed medical tour packages for foreign visitors…..”(website from AsianPlasticSurgery).
Korea’s competition comes from India, China, Thailand, Central and South America…..and in the near future, America. To browse the Internet for samples of “Medical Travel Packages” to Korea, you can discover just exactly what is being offered, let’s say, in Seoul, when in 2012 a fifteen-story building was constructed and named the “Regen Tower”.
“Regen” stands for “regeneration” which means re-born and recover; in the Korean language it also has the meaning of “come and come”. Within this fifteen-story medical Centre, examples of some of the peripheral services offered are language interpreters, concierge services such as patient pick-up and Hotel reservations. They are specialized with more than thirty doctors of eight departments such as Plastic Surgery, Dermatology, Orthodontic, Family Medicine, Otolaryngology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Anesthesiology, Surgery.
It really is an “one stop shop” as they have test, diagnosis, operation and treatment all in one place. To speak to the similarities of surgery types offered between the U.S and Korea it must be said that all Western common procedures can be had in Korea. If Korea wants to tap into the multi-million dollar industry of medical tourism regarding plastic surgery (and all related fields), they have to not only offer all similar “elective” procedures but must remain innovative in techniques and in the marketing of it.
Point-in-case is how The Council for Korea Medicine Overseas Promotion is attracting their expatriates by offering procedures that “…..are all but unavailable outside the Orient….”(website from AsianPlasticSurgery). ” The most popular Korean facial plastic surgery operations, double eyelid surgery to create an upper eyelid crease and augmentation rhinoplasty to enhance the structure of the nose, are very different from their equivalents in the West….”(website from AsianPlasticSurgery).
Korea’s expatriates are well aware of the anatomical differences between the “West” and “East”; and until the U.S comes to terms with the demands for Asian needs regarding plastic surgery, over-seas travel for medical-related purposes will surely increase.