|Ridiculous cosmetic procedures in Korea |
Korean plastic surgery is very popular and competitive and many foreign patients
come to Korea for surgery.
But there are some dark sides of this phenomenon and patients should be cautious
in selecting their surgeons and procedures.
Many plastic surgeons in Korea nowadays become more audacious and are doing advertising
some experimental procedures which are not proven effective and safe.
There is a very important principle in plastic surgery named 'family test'.
The procedures which can’t be recommended to their family members should not be
recommended to their patients.
Plastic surgery procedures to healthy patients and experimental cancer treatments
to desperate patients have different standards of application.
Any ineffective or harmful experimental procedures should not be recommended.
But there are some surgeons who are too experimental or unethical or stupid.
I'll list some ridiculous procedures which are not recommended to my
family members but are popular in Korea
1. Ptosis surgery for normal patients (NoonMae KyoJung
: Correction of eye shape)
Eye surgery is the most popular procedure in Korea and Asia because most Asians
have small eyes.
So, most plastic surgeons in Korea are doing eye surgery nearly everyday and are
there are too much competition in eye surgery and the cost of this procedure remain
the same for over 20 years.
One clever plastic surgeon made an idea to raise the cost of surgery to double
and to make more dramatic results of eye surgery.
He suggested to apply ptosis surgery on normal patients and named it with a new
name as ‘NoonMae KyoJung’ (Correction of eye shape in Korean).
Many plastic surgeons raved about his idea and started to advertise ptosis surgery
to normal patients excessively.
At that time, many plastic surgeons believed ptosis surgery for normal patients
do no harm to the patients but can make their eyes bigger and follow the trend.
Because most patients prefer bigger eyes, they choose this procedure dreaming
in very big eyes without knowing its harzard.
At last, many people in Korea became to believe ptosis surgery is necessary even
if they don't have any ptosis and they criticized the good doctors who don’t recommend
ptosis surgery to normal patients as mean and shabby doctors and praised the NoonMae
KyoJung as a new and innovative procedures for Asians.
Nowadays, many Korean plastic surgeons follow the trend and recommend ptosis surgery
to normal patients who don't need ptosis surgery because many patients insist
This is one of the most ridiculous example of populism in plastic surgery.
There is no country in the world in which doctors recommend ptosis surgery to
normal patients except Korea.
Korea became the first in ptosis surgery number in the world about 100 folds.
8 to 9 of 10 plastic surgeons seduce their patients that it can make their eyes
bigger and brighter with little extra money without added risk.
But that's not true.
Because the mechanism of eye opening and closing is more complicated that they
thought, the disruption in the mechanism of eye opening makes adverse effects
that they couldn't think of.
Many patients are suffering from the complications like pressure in eyeball, continuous
tension in eyelids, weird shape, asymmetry, inability to open and close their
eyes fully, headache, blepharospasm, tinnitus, palpitation, high blood pressure,
dry eye syndrome, astigmatism, dilatation of pupil and resulting eye glare, too
much frowning, heavy eyelids, stiffness in head and neck, agitation, and depression.
Nowadays, it becomes known that unnecessary ptosis surgery for normal patients
can stimulate Muller muscle in eyelids too much and induce sympathetic nerve stimulating
This became a very serious problem in Korea but there are few who listen to the
voice of whom claim the risk of ptosis surgery to normal patients.
Nowadays, 8 of 10 patients who seek revision eye surgery underwent ptosis surgery
in the previous operation which makes the revision more complicated.
2. Lower eyelid lowering and lateral canthoplasty
Because of the combination of patients' unreasonably strong desire to make their
eyes bigger and Korean plastic surgeons’ strong desire to big hit, many procedures
are created in Korea nowadays.
Most of them are just slight modification of the previous procedures but named
differently and do no harm to patients.
I think this is cute and a little scam which can be permitted.
But some procedures are not only ridiculous but also dangerous.
Nowadays, many Korean plastic surgeons recommend double eyelid surgery + ptosis
surgery + medial epicanthoplasty + lateral canthoplasty + lowering lower eyelids
to most of their patients to maximize the size of their eyes (and to charge them
the maximal amount of money).
Among these, double eyelid surgery with medial epicanthoplasty are proven to be
safe and effective, but other procedures are dangerous and not effective.
Lateral canthoplasty usually make lateral canthus a little bit broad but make
the lateral canthal angle blunt and make unnatural appearance frequently.
Lowering lower eyelids usually make lower eyelid eversion and make them look dull
and can make serious complications like dry eye syndrome, reddened lower eyelids,
and continuous tearing.
In addition, the eyes don’t look better after these procedures.
I will not recommend these procedures to my family members (and to my patients).
3. Aegyosal(Augmentation of lower eyelid margin)
Many people regard a small bulge in lower eyelid just beneath eyelash as a sign
And many people nowadays misunderstand a exaggerated bulge in lower eyelid in
young women as a sign of cuteness and call it 'Aegyosal'.
A little bit of augmentation in young women and a little bit more augmentation
in old women who lost this small bulge is fine.
But most of filler injection in lower eyelid over lower eyelid tarsal plate makes
huge bulge in lower eyelid and makes unnatural appearance.
In addition, it is usually irregular and noticeable and persists for a long time.
A little bit of makeup can make similar effect without any side effects.
4. Mouth corner lift
Many people undergo mouth corner lift to make their smile brighter.
By moving the flap in mouth corner, surgeons are making lifted mouth corner.
But that area is notorious for hypertrophic scar because mouth is continuously
moving, the tension is high, and underlying muscle is tightly attached to overlying
In addition, it’s very hard to treat the hypertrophic scar when it is happened.
Korea is the only country in the world in which this kind of ridiculous procedure
5. Breast fat graft or filler injection
Asians who undergo breast fat graft or filler injection think these procedures
can make more natural shape and touch than breast implant.
In thin Asian women, breast implant looks artificial and can be felt a bit hard.
But thin women has little fat to be grafted to their breasts and they usually
are disappointed at the final result because augmentation is not so noticeable
usually even if they underwent 4 to 6 times of fat graft.
Filler injection to breast has been used for many years in Russia and has made
many scary complications like breast loss and was abandoned in most of western
But it suddenly became popular in Korea and many Korean women are choosing this
dangerous and experimental procedure because it is simple and cheap.
When the injected filler is infected, their breast can be disappeared.
Even if breast implant insertion is not a perfect procedure, it is safer, more
controllable, reversible, and predictable.
6. Stem cell graft or prp
Plastic surgery in Korea is very competitive and there is little restriction on
So, many plastic surgeons are competing to decorate their procedure's name with
They don't care whether the procedures are proven more effective than others or
Even though there is no evidence that stem cell fat graft or fat graft with PRP
is more effective than conventional fat graft, they just stress out their singularity
and fancy words.
I couldn't find any advantages of stem cell graft over usual fat graft except
the possibility to earn more money.
Fat graft is less expensive, simpler, less risky, more predictable, and can be
repeated more easily.
7. RF calf muscle reduction or jaw muscle
It's a trend in plastic surgery in the world that minimally invasive surgery
becomes more popular because its short recovery time, less riskiness, and immediate
Some minimally invasive surgery like filler and Botox injection are very effective.
But many of these minimally invasive procedures are not effective and are just
waste of time and money.
Calf nerve block using radiofrequency can't make noticeable change in most
of cases and most of them are recurred (it means this procedure makes only temporary
When it is recurred, they just repeat the same procedure until the patients
Calf muscle resection can make noticeable change and recurrence is not happened.
This is much more effective, predictable, and safer calf reduction method.
There is no reason to choose RF calf reduction over calf muscle resection.
Jaw muscle reduction using radiofrequency needs longer recovery period and
has many risks(inability to open their mouth, nerve injury, hematoma, excessive
swelling, etc.) compared to Botox injection.
In addition, shrinked jaw muscle becomes bigger once again like Botox.
Even if Botox to masseter muscle is also temporary method, it is cheap, doesn't
need recovery period, and has no risk.
There is no reason to choose RF jaw reduction over Botox jaw reduction.
8. Threadlift for Asians
Threadlift is very popular in western countries because it’s simple and effective.
Threadlift for Asians are not effective because Asians have much more tough
skin and underlying tissue, the effect of threadlift can't persist more than
Satisfaction rate of threadlift for Asians are extremely low.
Facelift can make their face lifted permanently.
9. Rib cartilage graft rhinoplasty
Asian rhinoplasty is much more difficult than Caucasian rhinoplasty because
all the structures in nose are small and fragile.
So, the most common rhinoplasty procedure is augmentation of nasal bridge with
implant insertion and open tip-plasty with cartilage graft.
Some patients have preconception that nasal implant is very dangerous because
they saw some scary complication like implant extrusion.
So, they choose rib cartilage graft because it looks safer.
But that’s not true.
Even if rib cartilage graft is a very good procedure, it should be recommended
in extreme cases only because of it's riskier, more complex, and more expensive.
Pneumothorax, unsightly chest scar, irregularity in their chest cage and nose,
warping of grafted rib cartilage, and unnatural shape are frequent complications.
There is no reason to recommend this aggressive procedures to normal patients.
10. Permanent filler
The most common filler is Hyaluronic acid filler which lasts about 1 and half
year and is absorbed completely after some time.
Filler injection is also painful and cumbersome and some patients choose permanent
filler named Artecolle or Artefill which lasts more than 5 years in one injection.
Even if permanent filler is also approved by FDA, it has some serious complications
like lumpiness or granulomas which are difficult for doctors to treat.
The only solution for this complications is removing by cutting them out with
surrounding normal tissue which leaves unsightly depression and scar.
Doctors who know how difficult to treat the complications and how scary the
complications are will not recommend permanent fillers to their family members.
Judge logically, not emotionally.
Even trivial and simple looking plastic surgery procedures can change your life.
Hyuncheol Park MD
OZ Cosmetic Clinic