If you’re a would-be medical tourist, make sure you don’t underplan and overspend. Check out our Korean plastic surgery cost saving tips.
It’s no surprise that South Korea appeals to medical tourists due to its reputation for providing cutting edge procedures at low prices.. In certain parts of the world, plastic surgery prices can be astronomically high. The lower cost of living in Korea together with its proximity to the major manufacturing centers of China and Taiwan means that top of the line medical technology and services are typically available at lesser costs than in North America and Europe. The promise of a new face or body abroad is therefore an attractive prospect for foreigners and expats living in Korea.
8 Essential Korean Plastic Surgery Cost Cutting Tips
Although many South Korean medical tourist companies offer a range of all-inclusive packages for a set fee, you must still engage in financial planning prior to booking your trip. Thus, if you’re considering travelling to one of Korea’s many plastic surgery centers either independently or as part of a pre-arranged medical tourism holiday, you must thoroughly research your clinic or hospital prior to leaving the country, alongside your travel, food and transport costs.
1. Basic travel costs
If your passport isn’t up to date, ensure you have the funds to renew it prior to booking your procedure. Australian, Canadian, Vietnamese, US and British citizens may stay in South Korea for up to 90 days without a visa, whereas Chinese travelers are permitted a 30 day stay (which was recently extended).
2. Length of stay
Hotel bookings and plane ticket reservations must be considered carefully. It is wise to check your airline’s rescheduling and cancellation policies prior to booking a ticket, as you may need to extend your stay should complications occur. If you are planning to undergo heavy duty maxillofacial surgery or body work, be aware that you will need to allocate more time for recovery and will likely need to return to your clinic for a follow up visit in the early post-operative period.
3. Surgery quote
Ensure that your final Korean plastic surgery cost quote covers surgeon’s fees, anaesthesia, hospital and medical personnel fees and that all of these costs are broken down separately in your invoice. If you are booking a complete surgical and travel package though a medical tourism agency, ensure that your invoice provides a full breakdown of costs, and that the total matches up with the services you have paid for.
4. Internal travel costs
If your Korean plastic surgery cost was a quite given to you by a clinic or hospital advisor, ask if this fee includes a pre-arranged personal driver to take you to and from the facility. Some clinics and hospitals may also offer to arrange a private driver to and from Seoul airport. If you are planning to travel to South Korea for consultations only, you will likely need to make these arrangements independently. As a cost saving measure, you may wish to book a shuttle bus from Seoul airport and use public transport to get around.
5. Language barriers
If you aren’t a native Korean speaker, you may need a translator to accompany you to your preliminary consultations and support you during follow ups. Some medical tourism companies provide these as part of all-inclusive packages, and certain clinics – such as BK Hospital – have over 30 translators on standby due to the large number of foreign nationals who travel to South Korea for surgery. In the absence of an interpreter, hiring your own private guide will undoubtedly incur additional costs.
6. Medication and supplies
Medication and supplies such as compression garments are crucial elements that must be planned before you go. You might be able to obtain medication at home, in which case you will need an accompanying script to take them abroad. If not, ask your chosen clinic or hospital whether scripts for painkillers and antibiotics are supplied to patients before surgery, and check with your home GP whether these will be sufficient.
7. Follow ups
Be sure to ask clinics whether their fees cover follow up appointments, and ask how many you will be entitled to after your surgery is completed. It is also prudent to check whether you will be permitted to email your surgeon directly thereafter, particularly if you are traveling home within days of your surgery. Occasionally, emails are passed on to non-medical personnel, who might not be adequately equipped to address medical questions.
8. Avoid revision surgery
No matter which areas of your face or body you’re hoping to change, surgical fees do vary across South Korea’s many clinics and hospitals. Cost aside, it is wise to choose the best doctor for your case as you will want to avoid fees for corrective surgery. You may first want to begin your research on internet forums such as Purseforum or Realself. Check clinics’ websites for the names of doctors working at the clinics you’re interested in and read reviews online. Be aware of false testimonials from patients or surgeons. If there are many complaints against a particular clinic or surgeon, it might be better to look elsewhere or travel to Korea to investigate further.