Orange County, California? Nope. Hollywood? Wrong! New York City? Try again!
You might be surprised to find the world's most popular destination for plastic surgery is Seoul, South Korea. In fact, the number of tourists traveling to South Korea for cosmetic surgery is five times more than it was in 2009, according to South Korea's health ministry.
The drastic increase in the number of plastic surgeries is mostly due to the growing acceptance of the cosmetic surgery industry in South Korea and surrounding countries. A poll conducted by the Seoul city government in 2011 found the percentage of respondents that said they are willing to undergo cosmetic surgery is 32 percent, up from 21.5 percent just two years prior.
South Korea is reaping the benefits of its exploding cosmetic surgery industry and expects to add about 20,000 jobs over the next four years. Mostly nurses and interpreters, the new jobs will be essential to keeping up with demand as the industry continues to grow.
South Korea's national health insurance program doesn't cover any form of cosmetic surgery so it's difficult to track the size and increase of the country's cosmetic surgery industry, but a total of 649,938 cosmetic surgeries were performed in the country in 2011 alone. This, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Surgery, means 13 procedures are performed for every 1,000 people in the country - the most in the world.
The country hopes to attract half a million medical tourists by 2017. If you're considering being part of the half million to travel to South Korea for your cosmetic surgery, you should be sure to understand the risks associated. The South Korean government recently created a qualification exam for medical tour operators, but the program isn't likely to provide you the assurance and safety offered my some plastic surgeons in the United States.
The United States still doesn't regulate every aspect of cosmetic surgeries, but there are board certifications available to plastic surgeons to prove their skill and experience. If a physician has board certifications from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, or any certification in their respective area of plastic surgery, you can rest assured you will be treated safely and your specific desires will be taken into account.