Consultation and Surgery Experience (Dream, April31, JK)

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    I'm in Seoul right now with my friend, and we both had multiple consultations in the past 2 days. We lurked on these forums a lot before we booked our consultations. The info here really helped in deciding which clinics to go to for consultations, so we wanted to give back by sharing our experiences!

    I'll share my experience first. Before any consultation, I knew I wanted bridge augmentation, tip plasty, and alar base reduction. My nose is quite wide with a bulbous tip, so I wanted to slim down the alars and make the tip a bit more defined. As for bridge, I was ok with a more conservative height raise, since I wanted very natural-looking results. I already have a bit of a bridge, along with the sloped "S" shape, so I was basically seeking a slight height raise in what I already had. I also photoshopped pictures of myself (front and side view) of what I wanted to look like LOL.

    I booked consultations with Dream, April31, and JK.
  2. Dream

    I decided to consult with them because the head surgeon there (Dr. Park) is really well known and skilled. He's known for being really good at closed rhino, where the incision is made inside the nostrils instead of outside. Therefore, less scarring. The downside of closed rhino is that there is less visibility for the surgeon, which is why you have to be really skilled to be able to pull it off.

    I headed there the morning after I landed in Seoul. The clinic is located on the second floor of CGV theater (lol I went to the wrong location at first), and it looks really clean and big. Riley was my translator. She's super nice and cute. I first sat down with her and a consultant, who recommended bridge augmentation and tip plasty. She also said that the tip plasty would be enough to gather the alars, so alar reduction was not necessary. To make my face more balanced, she also recommended fat grafting on my forehead, since my forehead is quite flat.

    Then, we went to meet with Dr. Park. He spoke pretty good English, so Riley didn't have to do too much translating. I really liked how detailed he was in explaining exactly what procedures he would be using. For the bridge, he'd be using I-shaped ultra soft silicone; for tip plasty, septal cartilage (for the strut) and ear cartilage (for the tip). He also drew diagrams and named the different medical procedures (the names of which are lost on me, but I appreciated the information; he also wrote it down for me). As for the height of the silicone, he said 3.5mm was standard, while 3.0mm was for more natural results. I asked for the 3.0mm.

    Later, I met with the consultant again, who showed me before and after photos. The results looked really good, and natural as well. The doctor had also emphasized natural when I was speaking with him, which is exactly what I'm looking for.

    The consultant also gave me a final quote, which included rhino, fat grafting for forehead, and Botox jaw shots (which I had requested).
  3. April31

    Next was April31. My friend and I both went for consultations here (my friend will be sharing her experience in a later post, so I'll just share my own here).

    The lobby was really clean and nice (with free wipes and coffee mixers). There were quite a few patients in the lobby, included 3 Chinese ladies (one whom was all bandaged, kind of freaked my friend and I out b/c TOO REAL), a male local who was there for a post-op check-up, and a father waiting for his daughter's surgery to be finished.

    Brian was our translator. He's super chill and funny, and it was refreshing talking to him because up until that point, I felt that everyone was too polite. He was rather blunt, and pretty sassy tbh.

    Our process was actually kind of rushed due to the availability of Dr. Kim. We sat down and spoke for a little bit before he brought in the consultant, who gave us quick recommendations. She was very straightforward and cut through the bull****. She suggested bridge augmentation and tip plasty for me, as well as forehead fat grafting since my forehead is quite flat.

    Because it was rushed, I didn't get a chance to show her my photoshopped photos. We went to see the surgeon, who had just finished surgery. He was really kind, and he spoke enough English to get his point across. He recommended bridge augmentation and tip plasty for me. At first, he said tip plasty would be enough to make my nose narrower, but after pinching my nose and examining it a bit (lol), he said a little bit of alar reduction would be ok. He also knew I really wanted natural results after I showed him my photoshopped photos, and he made a note of that in his notes. I liked how attentive he was to what I wanted, but he also had strong opinions of what he thought would work on me.

    He also recommended FG on not only my forehead, but also on my cheeks (the part under the eyes), on my smile lines, and a tiny bit on my chin. I agreed that FG on my chin would make my face look more harmonious, but as I'm iffy about FG overall, I wasn't too sold on FG on my cheeks and smile lines.

    After the doc finished speaking with my friend and me, we went back to the consultation room. Brian apologized about it being so rushed. We then spent the next hour or so talking. Brian spent some time hyping up the doctors at April31 and long story short, they're mad legit. Like president of xxxxxxx and author of a bunch of academic papers, and apparently Dr. Kim's surgery videos are a must-watch if you're an aspiring plastic surgeon.

    We also asked hella questions, because we felt that a lot of our concerns were not properly addressed during the actual consultations. For example, I did not feel FG on my cheeks and smile lines was necessary. Additionally, I felt that such a procedure would make me look too young/cute/dolly and tbh I prefer slightly westernized looks (like I'd rather have resting ***** face than resting cute face u no what i mean). Brian assured me that the FG on the cheeks would really only be obvious from the side, and it'd just make my face look more 3D since it's kind of flat right now. Since he's also from Canada, he prefers westernized looks; yet he also recommends the FG on my face. So yeah, I'll just trust the doc with that.
  4. Good luck with your surgery and please keep us updated. The people who write about their experiences is only a small fraction of the people that actually use this sub-forum in PF. If more people wrote about their experiences it will help everybody. The more information there is in english about going for PS in Seoul, the better the experience will be for others in the future.
  5. JK

    JK was the first clinic I contacted, since I saw a post on here saying they have pretty natural results. But later, I learned that they actually specialize in face contouring, not rhinoplasty. Anyway, I went to their building, which was actually across the street from Dream. The clinic was the cleanest/biggest I've seen yet, since they actually have their own building. The lobby was really clean, and I spotted some foreign (white) patients.

    My translator was Mimi, who brought me to see Lucy, the consultant. Both spoke fluent English. I had already had an online consultation with them, where the doc had recommended bridge augmentation, tip plasty, alar reduction, and mandible angle reduction (but I didn't want any jaw shaving). Therefore, Lucy seemed a bit confused as to why I was there for another consultation…I mean doesn't it make sense that I'd want one in person? I said that I just wanted to understand the doc's methods better, so she brought in the nose doc. At first, he only recommended silicone for bridge augmentation, mentioning that my tip was already projected enough. However, after showing him my photoshopped photos, he realized that I was concerned about my nose's width, and therefore suggested tip plasty and alar reduction. He talked a bit about the procedures he'd use, like using ear cartilage for the tip. For alar reduction, he would be making an external incision along the wrinkle on the side of my nose; however, this procedure would leave visible scarring. There was no mention of fat grafting.

    After he left, I spoke a bit more with Lucy. She asked what other clinics I was consulting with, and focused on the fact that I had consulted with Dream. She also asked what they had recommended and what price they quoted, which tbh made me a bit uncomfortable. We ended with a quote, which was the cheapest amongst Dream and April31.

    Ngl, I was a bit uncomfortable at JK. Lucy seemed on edge since I was there for a second consultation, and since I had consulted previously with Dream. The doctor's recommendations also felt a bit reactive (like I'd mention one concern, and then he'd recommend a procedure, instead of him making recommendations based on what he thought would look best for me); I would have preferred if the doctor had more firm opinions.
  6. So far, my price quotes, from most expensive to cheapest:

    April31 >> Dream > JK

    The price includes:
    April31: bridge augmentation, tip plasty, slight alar base reduction, fat graft, botox
    Dream: bridge augmentation, tip plasty, fat graft, botox
    JK: bridge augmentation, tip plasty, alar reduction, botox
  7. #7 May 27, 2016
    Last edited: May 27, 2016
    Comparing April31 and Dream

    After all of this, I was torn between Dream and April31. Dr. Park of Dream and Dr. Kim of April31 are both really respected. I really like the closed rhino method that Dr. Park uses, since there's no external scarring, and how detailed he was in explaining everything to me. The consultant was also very patient in answering questions, and she showed me quite a few before and after photos. The photos all looked really good, even first week post-op. At April31, we had to request for BA photos, and even then, the consultant kind of rushed through them. Instead of having a long session with the consultant like I did at Dream, I only had max 3-4 min with the consultant at April31 before we went in to speak with the surgeon. I understand that it was due to the availability of Dr. Kim, but I wish the consultant spoke with us longer after the consultation with the surgeon. We had a lot of questions, which Brian tried to answer. At a few points in our conversation, Brian decided to bring in the consultant again to answer our questions, but even then, she only stayed for 2-3 minutes, and left. She also came in 2 separate times to answer our questions, so she was definitely not super busy. Therefore, I don't understand why she couldn't have just spent the entire time with us after our consultation with the surgeon.

    As I mentioned before, Dr. Park was very detailed in explaining his procedures to me. On the other hand, Dr. Kim didn't mention any specifics of what he was going to do (like how he was going to use the cartilage/materials, how he was going to place it, etc). Instead, Brian was the one clarifying on those points, showing me diagrams and such. Brian also mentioned that Dr. Kim makes a lot of decisions when the patient is already on the operating table, such as the height of the implant, how to place the cartilage in the tip, etc. Instead of having standard heights for the silicone, Dr. Kim apparently carves it himself based on what he thinks fits the patient best. He also cuts the silicone in half, since he only places the silicone on top of the bone of the nose. Brian mentioned that some other surgeons would use the I-shaped silicone from bridge to tip, and just add a bit of cartilage to the tip on top of the silicone. Instead, Dr. Kim uses purely cartilage for the tip. As a result, Brian claims that patients can do piggy nose/move their tip around a year post-surgery, unlike noses done by other surgeons, which turn out to be hard (that's why on Korean variety shows, celebrities prove their noses are natural by doing piggy nose).

    Because Dr. Kim really customizes his procedures based on the needs of the patient, he employs the open rhino method. Brian claims that because Dr. Kim is really careful with his suturing, the scarring is minimal to nonexistent.

    As you can see we spent a LOT of time speaking with Brian in comparison to speaking with the consultant or Dr. Kim. We even went into April31 a second time to ask more questions. I appreciate how patient Brian was with us, though I do wish we spent more time with Dr. Kim. Although I felt that Dr. Kim was quite clear in explaining what results he would help us achieve in the surgery, I do wish he (or the consultant) was there to field all our questions (we had a **** ton).
  8. #8 May 27, 2016
    Last edited: May 27, 2016

    After a long time internally debating and weighing what I liked and disliked about each clinic, I finally decided on April31. Here are my reasons:

    1. Alar base reduction. My nose is quite wide and my nostrils are literal circles, so I was a bit doubtful that tip plasty would be enough to gather my alars. Also, by gathering my alars through tip plasty alone, I was afraid my tip would turn out too pointy, and nostrils too triangular. I wanted more natural-looking results and a "button nose" kind of shape (which I kind of have), and I felt that Dr. Kim's method would be more to my liking.

    2. The emphasis on safety and ethical practices. Brian emphasized that the clinic has been around, in the same location, for 18 years. When other clinics find themselves in a malpractice suit or have any issues regarding patient safety, they change their name, relocate, and open again. On the other hand, April31 being around for so long meant that their practices are much safer. Plus, the entire place just seemed super clean and organized. The fact that I've seen various patients there, all with different backgrounds, proves that April31 is a popular choice. Plus, April31 is owned by the surgeons, meaning they all have a stake in the clinic. Therefore, it's more in their interest to perform well.

    3. Dr. Kim's "customization". I mean, I have yet to see if this is actually the case, since it was mainly Brian selling it mad hard. By employing open rhino, Dr. Kim can do what he thinks would suit my face best. With more visibility, Dr. Kim also has more flexibility in terms of deciding what he can do, even when I'm already on the operating table. While I do like Dr. Park's closed rhino method, the less visibility also means that the procedures he uses would be more standardized--sure enough, when I was checking out the BA photos on Dream's website before any consultations, I felt that they all had similar shapes. I don't think one method is necessarily better than the other, but because I'm chasing super natural results, I decided Dr. Kim's methods would suit me more.

    4. A no-bull**** environment and clear translator. I appreciated how straightforward both the consultant and Brian are. I also really appreciated how patient Brian was with us, despite us asking a million questions (and repeating quite a few b/c second thoughts). We literally spent a total of ~4 hours in April31, both consultations combined. I mean, some of our conversations did get off-topic but at this point I feel like Brian knows us quite well LOL. He understands what we want, our concerns, and what we *might* potentially be unhappy with if things go a certain way. Therefore, he can clearly communicate everything to Dr. Kim for us when we're too nervous to convey our thoughts on surgery day. Clear and frank communication, imo, are as important as the skill of the surgeon. While I do believe Riley can also clearly communicate my desires to Dr. Park of Dream (and he also speaks pretty good English, better than Dr. Kim), I felt that Brian just…"got" me better LOL. I guess it helps that we both come from similar backgrounds (aka westernized Asians)??

    In addition to the above, I read purseforum a LOT in between consultations and after. I also PMed some people who had previously had their noses done at April31 (s/o to @vanillabeans and @rhinoceros!). All in all, while both April31 and Dream are super legit, clean, safe, with awesome translators, the reasons above drew me more to April31.
  9. #9 May 27, 2016
    Last edited: May 27, 2016
    It's Saturday morning at 4 am bc like I said I'm jetlagged af (how I wish I were up this late because I had a great night out drinking but nope) and my surgery is early next week and I'M NERVOUS AF OMFG.

    My friend is normal and is sleeping so I'll ask to her share her experience later. Her experience is a bit different from mine--she consulted with Dr. Jung of Shimmian and April31. She feels that Dr. Jung shares her aesthetic sense more so than Dr. Kim, but she does prefers April31 as a clinic, since it's cleaner, bigger, and basically more legit-looking. Both doctors also recommended different materials (gor-tex at Shimmian, silicone at April31), so she's a bit torn on which material to use. Dr. Jung claims gor-tex is better, while Dr. Kim says that gor-tex has higher probability of infection. When I went to JK, the consultant was just like "they're the same; we just prefer silicone" so WHICH IS BETTER WHO KNOWS. My friend was the one who really wanted to consult with April31 again, because she was also slightly unhappy with the recommendations Dr. Kim gave. Our second questioning session did help to assuage some of her concerns. Anyway, I'll let her share when she's awake and when it's bright and sunny out :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:

    Will update later. Peacing out.
  10. awesome review! youve done your assignment! :smile:

    Good luck on your PS. I hope u can still update your thread!
  11. Yes please update us later when you have the time :smile: I hope your surgery will be successful!

    I wondered one thing though... How did you know that JK is more specialized in facial contouring? Did someone say that to you? Sorry I'm just curious, thank you for your informative thread ^^
  12. Thanks! Will definitely update again later :smile:

    As for JK, Lucy (the consultant at JK) actually mentioned it at the end of our consultation. She said that the surgeon initially specialized in facial contouring, but he can also do really natural noses. I remember looking at the photos on the website, and while the noses do look natural, the results might be too subtle for some.

    (also omg seolhyun)
  13. Hey @maplecandy, happy to hear from you! Wish you all the best for your surgery! And above all, wishing you the patience during recovery! :P
  14. Oh, I see. Thank you for explaining :smile: Could you please tell me the name of the surgeon? I want to do both rhinoplasty and facial contouring so that would be really helpful :smile:

    (and yes I love her, she's so pretty :biggrin:)

  15. Great post, I really appreciate you taking the time to write all your thoughts about the various clinics!
    How did your rhino go? I'm in Korea right now and going for DES, contemplating rhinoplasty [emoji16] need to make my mind up if I want to go tomorrow :/

    somehow the rhinoplasty kind of scares me a bit, even though I know there shouldn't be any pain and mostly discomfort...
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