21 February 2019
Plastic surgery is big business in South Korea, fueled in part by TV shows. Photo: Bloomberg
Plastic surgery is big business in South Korea, fueled in part by TV shows. Photo: Bloomberg

Get a different look and reinvent your life

“I feel like I am as pretty as the Venus,” a 37-year-old housewife gushed on a South Korean cosmetic surgery show aired by Taiwanese cable network CTI.

Plastic surgery is said to be a part of life in South Korea. And the craze is reflected in the wide popularity of related TV shows.

In the top program, “Here comes the beauty”, the housewife was shown getting transformed from a Plain Jane into a Greek Goddess in 84 days. She looked so pretty now that even her three little kids were not able to recognize her.

Almost on the verge of divorce, the surgery is said to have saved her marriage.

Fulfilling personal aspirations, the plastic surgery industry can work wonders for the economy too.

Half a year ago, a Bloomberg Businessweek report cited the South Korean Tourism Organization as saying that the nation’s medical tourism industry logged revenue in excess of US$450 million in 2012, triple the amount in 2009. The government promotes the industry abroad to help boost the economy and produce jobs.

An average plastic surgery trip reportedly costs about US$14000-15,000. In addition to surgeons, clinics also need interpreters. Travel agencies and hotels get a slice of the revenue pie too.

The popularity of Korean TV dramas and artists in Asia is a big help. Many patients from Asian countries want the features of Korean celebrities, like their attractive chins and noses, when they go for cosmetic surgery.

“My love from the star”, a romance tale between a South Korean girl and a handsome looking alien, has been the latest big Korean hit in China. It won’t be surprising if plastic surgery clinics see more requests to make the customers look like top actress Jun Ji-hyun.

Of course, locals will also be major customers in South Korea. About 13 procedures were done for every 1,000 South Koreans, the highest “penetration rate”, Businessweek cited the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery as saying.

– Contact the writer at [email protected]



EJ Insight writer

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