If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what to do during an annoyingly long layover (hi, hello, all of us), “get Botox” will soon join your list of possibilities — at least if you’re traveling in South Korea. One airport has plans to open a cosmetic surgery center that has experts alarmed.
ccording to a report by New Beauty, Incheon International Airport in South Korea is planning to open a plastic surgery center in its new transit terminal. Sound controversial? It is.
The planned 2,500-square foot cosmetic surgery center is a response to the popularity surrounding medical tourism in South Korea. To give you an idea, the country’s official tourism board actually promotes the popularity of getting a little nip tuck while you visit as a reason for booking a trip. South Korea even has government-approved medical tourism agencies who bill themselves as “beauty consulting and tourism” companies — like travel agencies that will schedule lip injections. With all the appetite for cosmetic travels, the airport is taking it one step further by creating a space to get those cosmetic procedures while in transit.
There’s just one (major) problem: Getting any sort of plastic surgery procedure before getting on a flight isn’t safe. According to New Beauty, both the Korean Association of Plastic Surgeons (KAPS) and the Korean Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons condemned the idea, citing concerns about the risks associated with traveling immediately after going under the needle or knife. “What if a patient cannot get on their scheduled flight due to some unexpected medical problems that occur after the surgeries or treatments,” a spokesperson for KAPS said.
On top of the post-procedure risks, doctors also point out potential issues with patients making snap decisions about cosmetic surgery. It’s one thing to make an impulsive decision to get a facial when your flight is delayed, but going for a cosmetic procedure on a whim? It can be dangerous, says Sejal Shah, a New York City-based cosmetic dermatologist, tells Allure. “Extreme changes in altitude and other forces associated with flying immediately after surgery could increase the risk of complications,” she says.
“In addition to altitude, planes can harbor micro-organisms, increasing risk of wound infection,” says Shah. Other potential complications, she notes, include a rise in blood pressure, which could negatively affect the healing process and potentially cause the development of blood clots.
Above all else, hopping on a plane immediately post-op can be uncomfortable for patients, says Shah. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, you should wait at least 10 days before getting on a plane post-procedure. In other words, think seriously hard if you’re tempted to get injections at Incheon’s new cosmetic surgery center.