Korea tightens plastic surgery rules

Korea tightens plastic surgery rules
Posed photo of a woman with bandage on her face and someone removing it. This is to illustrate a story on plastic surgery.

Following a number of controversial medical accidents in the nation's plastic surgery sector, the government is tightening safety measures to protect patients.

The Health Ministry will require all clinics that perform surgeries involving general anaesthesia to be fully equipped with emergency medical supplies including a pulse oximeter and a ventilator as well as uninterrupted power supply.

The ministry is also set to ban plastic surgery advertisements that do not properly inform patients of possible side effects, including ones with dramatic before and after photographs and ones that feature celebrities as models.

Also, clinics will be encouraged to install surveillance cameras in their operating rooms for their patients' safety.

In order to make sure every patient has access to information about the surgeons who are in charge of their treatment, clinics will be required to display the name of the surgeon in front of the operating room before and during surgical procedures.

Some clinics have been accused of having inexperienced surgeons perform procedures while telling patients that their surgery is being performed by experienced ones, as they cannot make out once they are put under anaesthesia.

In December, a number of health workers were investigated by health authorities for having a birthday party in an operating room in the middle of a surgical procedure at a plastic surgery clinic.

"These measures will enhance safety in the nation's plastic surgery sector," said the ministry in a statement. "We believe this will help attract more foreign patients as well."

The number of Korean patients filing medical disputes after receiving cosmetic surgery or other aesthetic treatments increased dramatically from 439 in 2012 to 805 last year.

Last year, a woman in her 50s died of dyspnea while receiving liposuction at a clinic in Seoul's affluent district of Gangnam in September.

In January, a Chinese woman who suffered a cardiac arrest while receiving plastic surgery in southern Seoul was sent to a general hospital and fell into a coma.

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