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It’s happening in South Korea just like it happens here in the United States: non-plastic surgeons are rushing to cash in on the profitable cosmetic surgery business.
According to The Chosunilbo, an online newspaper covering Korean politics, business, sports and more, although certified plastic surgeons are the only doctors authorized to perform cosmetic surgery locally, there are ways to sidestep the regulations. Some practitioners promote their business as a “beauty clinic” or “aesthetic clinic.” Then, says the The Chosunilbo, they may add the term “plastic surgery,” and in small, almost disguised lettering “offering” (The Chosunilbo 1). This somehow allows these practitioners to get around the rules.
Most tourists journeying to Asia and other parts of the world probably do not go with a visit to a low cost beauty clinic in mind. But today, many people do travel to countries outside the United States to save money on cosmetic surgery.
If you are contemplating a trip overseas with a cosmetic procedure on the agenda, as you steer clear of low cost clinics with untrained providers, there’s one more thing to keep in mind. You must know the local laws governing who can perform cosmetic surgery and you must choose a surgeon with appropriate credentials, and those two imperatives aren’t necessarily the same thing.
This isn’t necessarily a straightforward process in any area of the world. In the United States, for instance, certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is the utmost in plastic surgery credentials. ABPS certification tells you a doctor is a trained plastic surgeon, having a degree from an accredited medical school plus five years of residency, at least two of those focused on plastic surgery (ABPS1). Still, ABPS certification is not required for a doctor to perform cosmetic surgery in the United States — any medical doctor can add breast augmentation, liposuction and other procedures to their services and many do.