Plastic Surgery in South Korea

The rise of the Korean entertainment industry highlights a lot of interesting facts about Korea’s culture and lifestyle.  We, Cebuanos, are fond of watching Korean drama series and we are even big fans of some of these K-Pop artists.  Hollywood’s monopoly of the entertainment industry has been put to an end since the turn of the 21st century through globalization brought by information revolution – the internet.

This entry features one of the most controversial and interesting parts of Korean culture – Plastic Surgery (or others put it as the culture of Beauty Obsession).

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One of the most interesting things about plastic surgery – a generally expanding branch of surgery – is that it is not the same everywhere. Different countries have different trends, and in some cases even different surgeries. So, while you may think that you can get all of the information you need on the topic by visiting an American-based website such as, you may actually need to do more thorough research if your goal is to fully understand all different types of plastic surgery. Plastic surgery in Korea follows entirely different trends than, for example, in the United States.

To begin with, plastic surgery is simply far more common in South Korea than in most countries. According to the Asian Plastic Surgery Guide mentioned above, 15 to 30 percent of all Korean women are estimated to have had surgeries at some point. It is also noted that if this study focused only on women under 30, that percentage could be closer to 50. Simply put, Korean women have demonstrated a steady and growing attraction to plastic surgery, and there is little to suggest that the trend will stop, as methods continue to improve and changes remain “in style.” However, the actual surgeries themselves are a bit different than what many people are used to as well.

While procedures such as breast augmentation and liposuction are common in South Korea, just as they are in the West, there is also a lot of focus aimed at surgeries called “double eyelid surgery” and “augmentation rhinoplasty.” The fist of these is designed to create a crease in the upper eyelid of Korean women, which some have noted as, possibly, a physical attempt at “westernizing” the East Asian appearance. The augmentation rhinoplasty is designed to tastefully enlarge the nose, which could also be said to be something aiming at a bit of a westernized look. Regardless of the intentions behind them, however, these procedures are two of the very most popular in South Korea.

There are also a few popular procedures that are almost exclusive to South Korea. For example, cheek and jaw surgeries are often performed in South Korea, but are rarely addressed in the West. Typically, the closest options to these surgeries in Western countries are chin surgery and facelifts, each of which can earn somewhat similar results. However, surgery directly used to enhance the cheeks and jaw is somewhat unique to Koreans. Additionally, calf reduction surgeries are relatively popular in South Korea, and essentially do not exist elsewhere. All of this helps to demonstrate how different plastic surgery trends and practices can actually be across borders.

About Empress

Empress is a tech enthusiast who loves to read and write. She founded Empress Content Writing & Digital Marketing Services to help small entrepreneurs grow their business.

7 thoughts on “Plastic Surgery in South Korea

  1. I remember that by the start of year 2002, getting pregnant in your teens doesn’t stir that much controversy anymore as it had before. I wonder if it will ever be the same way to plastic surgery in the future. I know a few people who had been under a knife but it’s not something that you can just casually talk about with that person.

  2. One of my friend needs plastic surgery and I heard that it is good in South Korea. Since we are in Nepal and there is no any nice place here in Nepal. So I guess South Korea is nice and nearest place from here

  3. I keep up with a lot of StarCraft 2 tournaments which are huge in South Korea. Oftentimes they play K-Pop in between games and it’s quite obvious that they are very fond of plastic surgery and an overall “western” look, so this comes to no surprise. Definitely an interesting read, I didn’t realize the types of surgery that’s trending over there

  4. There is a growing concern about growing number of Koreans getting cosmetic surgery every year next to Brazil. However, i believe that there’s nothing wrong of having cosmetic surgery if you just know what you are doing.

  5. The popularity of plastic surgery is a good sign of Korean Economy Development, because just think about it. If people don’t have enough wealth to invest on themselves, what would be the budget or support for them to encourage for plastic surgery. Rather, if their standard living was unstable and poor, they will be more likely to be busy for providing themselves the basic needs such as food. Also, their advance in technology increases the name value of the country even though the country is known for leading technology development.

  6. You are absolutely right to point out the different approaches to cosmetic surgery in Korea as opposed to the West. Cosmetic surgery and beauty are hugely promoted as embodying something typically Korean! But I guess its also partly due to the fact that Korean women are more objectified by their male counterpart than any other women in the world, hence the high rate of plastic surgery. And Korean women see cosmetic surgery as an improvement to the self, rather than a sign of vanity!

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