Double Eyelid Surgery in Korea - advice for first-timer


New Member
Jul 1, 2020
Boston MA, USA
Hi y'all!

I'm new here, and have been debating about getting DES done for years. Finally decided that I definitely want it done in 2021 (depending on COVID) and I know that I want to get it done in Korea. (I live in the States) I am Korean, but I'm adopted and my parents are white so they do NOT understand my desire to have it done lol.

I have a lot of things I want to know more about/advice on, here they are in no particular order:
  • Are consults generally free? I've looked into getting DES done in the States, but one of my biggest turnoffs is that most doctors here charge for consultations.
  • I can read/write Korean, but my vocab is super limited. I'm working on improving, but I'd definitely need an interpreter/an English speaker at the clinic. What makes more sense - going to a clinic that has English speaking staff, hiring an interpreter on my own? Are there other options that are better?
  • Is bargaining difficult with an interpreter? Is it important to show receipts (meaning proof of quotes from other clinics)?
  • My biggest issue is that I am really inexperienced/uninformed about what procedures I should be looking into for my eyes. I just don't want to go into my consults looking like I have no clue about anything. My lower lashes poke into my eyes, and I have a lot of excess fat/skin on my upper lids. Guessing I'd be looking at ptosis correction and epicanthoplasty as well as blepharoplasty? My eyes are also uneven, my right eye is definitely more problematic. I'll add pics for reference.
  • Timeline? I don't want to go to Korea until the 2 week quarantine ends. With my current job, I can't really take a vacation longer than 2 weeks. How far in advance of actually traveling to Korea do I want to start doing serious research and online consultations?
  • From what I've been reading (here and elsewhere) it seems like a lot of people just make consultation appointments before traveling to Korea, and then make their surgery appointments while they're there. Do you really not run the risk of not being able to schedule your surgery while there? (It seems kind of risky to me to not have your surgery nailed down before travel, but I also want to be able to bargain a bit)
  • Recovery - is 7-10 days in Korea long enough to recover for travel back to the States? I don't really care about how I look, more just comfort.What'
  • Obviously I'm not going to sit in an AirBnb the entire time I'm in Korea. How soon after surgery is it comfortable to walk around, eat out, etc.? I'm not looking to do any crazy excursions while I'm there - the main things I want to do are show my bf around Seoul, and maybe look at apartments (we're thinking of moving there in a couple years.)
  • Thinking about cost, what I've estimated to set aside for the trip is roughly $7000 USD. I'm thinking around $4000 for surgery (this is my max, ideally), $1200 for flight, $400 for hotel/AirBnb, and the remaining $1400 for food/shopping/etc. Does that seem reasonable?
  • From my research so far, Namu, MVP, Uvom, and Opera are the clinics I'm interested in doing at least online consults with. Any other recs or reasons to not bother with those?
If anybody feels like answering any/some/one of these questions, I'd appreciate it!! Also would love to talk more in depth with people about their personal experiences with DES or other eyelid procedures.


Jun 16, 2020

- Consults are generally free -- if you have KakaoTalk, you can also add the clinics and try to get a general consultation. You can then see what they say and what procedures they usually recommend to see if it aligns with what you want for your eyes. I recommend being very clear in your desire for DES (aesthetic or medical/comfort? etc) and if you have a celebrity you want to emulate, you can show that as well. It's okay to not be too sure, I wasn't sure of all the different procedures until I started reaching out and asking. I have a lot of fat on my eyelids and wanted bigger eyes while still looking natural, and voiced this concern to them. (For your 1st and 4th point).

- Big clinics are the ones that generally have an English speaker. I don't think it's worth limiting yourself to big clinics; try getting a translator so that you can expand your options.

- I think most people do serious research around 1-2 months before flying out. If you have a lot of time and a lot of clinics on your mind, I'd start earlier so you can narrow it down by the time you're actually in Korea. People usually reach out online via Kakao, then they make another appointment in person to actually consult with the doctor. If you like a doctor well enough, some even make their appointments before they fly or on the day of their in person consultation, but understand this is not that common and you want to explore, I'm sure. Most clinics, especially the bigger ones, tend to cater to the foreigners. So if you really can't do a certain day, they usually arrange so that they can do your surgery when you need to.

- 7-10 days is enough, especially if you don't care too much about how you look. Some clinics offer deswelling services and such, but you really only need to stay max a week after your surgery so that they can take out the threads after. Most people stay around 2 weeks.

- You can walk around max a day after your surgery, though most people take it easy the first day and walk around at night. Walking around is really important for deswelling, so it's actually recommended to walk around as much as you can.

- 4000 for DES is a LOT. You will definitely be overcharged; most locals pay even as little as $800 USD, though 1-2k is more common. $400 might be possible if you book a cheap AirBnb. The others seem reasonable; food is cheap in Korea!

- Namu currently does not seem to have an English translator -- they ghosted me completely when I reached out. The rest are known to be very very big factory like clinics. There was a death at MVP. I'd recommend downloading the apps BabiTalk and Gangnam Unni. You can poke around and see B&A results of DES. Don't bother reading the actual reviews as a lot of them tend to be sponsored, but you can get a good grasp on what the doctor's style is through the B&As.

Popular clinics are:

- 1mm
- Premier
- Lamiche
- Naturalism
- Marble
- DA
- Item
- Illumi
- Wannabe (they are more popular amongst foreigners)
- Nana

This is a mix of big + medium sized clinics; I'd recommend seeing their B&As on the apps I mentioned. You'll pick up the terms for the procedures after spending some time on the app in Korean, so as you begin to kind of grasp what you want, you can then see on the app if there are any other clinics that you may like.

Big doesn't always mean better, but it also doesn't also mean it's worse. Naturalisma nd Premier are huge clinics, but they have very good results -- Premier is known for natural results, but they also have downsides: busy clinic and not excellent aftercare.

Smaller clinics usually are cheaper and can pay more attention to you. You will have to dig around though, since they usually do not advertise to foreigners and you may have to utilize your Korean to reach out to them if you really like a certain clinic.