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S. Korean medical tourism sees record number of foreign visitors last year Updated: 2019-04-24 19:14:55 KST

Medical tourism refers to people traveling to a country other than their own for treatments.
In Korea, the biggest and broadest category is "internal medicine," which includes treatment for infectious diseases, respiratory diseases and so on.
But what gets the most attention, as a single discipline, is plastic surgery and dermatology.

Since 2009, when South Korean hospitals were first allowed to promote their services to foreign patients, the number of medical tourists flowing in every year has been on the rise.
Last year, there were almost four-hundred-thousand of them.
That's almost eight thousand people a week.

The most popular treatments are beauty-related -- things like plastic surgery, dermatology and skincare, and they come to the mecca of that industry in Seoul's Ganganam-gu District.
South Korea's state-of-the-art surgical technology appeals to tourists, from as far away as Uzbekistan.

"These days we do "minimally-invasive plastic surgery" which involves newer technologies such as laser therapy or threads. Patients benefit from quicker recovery times and less scarring."

"I heard that South Korea is world famous for its high-tech plastic surgery. My closest acquaintances told me the same thing. So rather than seeking plastic surgeons in my own country, I came to South Korea to get the surgery I want."

Another draw is the country's huge pool of highly trained specialists dedicated to enhancing beauty.

"South Korea is one of only a few countries where highly trained medical specialists are extensively operating on beauty-related procedures."

Experts say people in South Korea are passionate about beauty regardless of age.
So specialists here perform more beauty procedures than their peers in other countries.
To help the tourists choose hospitals and find suitable accommodation, the Gangnam-gu Office is running the Gangnam Medical Tour Center.

"Here at the Gangnam Medical Tour Center, visitors can easily choose hospitals by medical departments such as plastic surgery or dermatology. They can also get some help to find suitable accommodation."

Now, if you cannot make it to the center, that's fine -- you can just visit the center's website, which is offered in six different languages, and look through recommended hospitals and accommodation on your own.

Choi Si-young, Arirang News.
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