Korea

What Procedures Are Available in Korea?

Discover what Korea medical tourism procedures have to offer

Korea—known as “The Land of Morning Calm”—offers you access to technologically advanced treatments and medical procedures as well as excellent physicians and facilities, and the medical tourism industry receives strong government support.

Korean hospitals and clinics provide a diverse array of medical services for medical tourists, including comprehensive health screening, cancer treatment, organ transplantation, joint and rheumatism care, infertility treatment, dental care, spinal treatment, ophthalmology and Korean traditional medicine. Biotechnology and stem cell research are considered particular strengths.

South Korea also has a reputation as a leading medical tourism destination for cosmetic procedures. One aesthetic facility even provides what it calls “bone therapy,” which involves alternative massage techniques designed to realign the patient’s bone structure—both face and body—to match their original, symmetrical forms.

Other cutting-edge treatments are creating a lot of buzz as well. For example, patients can get liposuction here that uses a high-tech 3-D body scan so they can clearly see the area or areas of their body that most require treatment. And one futuristic facility offers stem cell banking—in which a person’s stem cells are extracted and stored so that they can be reproduced and used to treat subsequent illnesses—as well as sleep therapy in the only sleep capsule machines in Asia. While reproducing stem cells is not yet legal, many Koreans and wealthy overseas visitors are banking their cells in anticipation that it will be soon.

A recent report from market research firm RNCOS, entitled “Asian Medical Tourism Market Forecast to 2015,” predicts that the number of Korea’s medical tourists will swell by just over half between 2013 and 2015—the fastest growth rate among all Asian nations. According to data compiled by the Bank of Korea, the country's income from medical tourism reached $187 million in the first 11 months of last year, up 35.3 percent from $138 million a year earlier, marking the biggest tally since the central bank began tracking related data in 2006. And according to the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), the number of tourists visiting Korea for medical treatment is projected to more than double to 998,000 in 2020, up from about 399,000 in 2013. The KTO also predicted that medical travelers to Korea will be spending US$3.3 billion by the same year. Legislation passed in May 2009, by the way, allows state-licensed clinics and hospitals to directly seek out foreign patients through various promotional activities.

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Korea: Cosmetic and Beauty Procedure Mecca

Korea is a relative newcomer to the medical tourism world, but has made some of the most decisive moves in the industry. The government identified medical tourism as a growth sector and has systematically addressed the potential concerns of medical tourists and Korean citizens by favorably modifying malpractice laws and medical visa policies, monitoring medical tourism providers, and establishing a medical tourism center with 24 hour multi-lingual support. As a result, the number of medical tourists has increased from a low of 7,900 in 2007 to 120,000 in 2011 and continues to grow rapidly.

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