SEOUL Incheon international airport in South Korea is planning to open a plastic surgery clinic in the transfer section, a decision that has sparked controversy regarding the risks involved in boarding a flight after undergoing such procedures.
The project, which specifies that the transfer zone of the new Incheon Airport passenger terminal will host the 240-square-meter aesthetic clinic, was denounced Tuesday by the parliamentarian Kang Hoon-sik of the ruling Democratic Party.
Kang accused the airport the main one serving the capital Seoul of wanting to put profitability over traveler safety and stated that the plan should be reexamined, in statements published by Yonhap news agency.
Taking advantage of the fame enjoyed by South Korean plastic surgery clinics especially among citizens of other Asian countries the project seeks to attract more international stopovers in Incheon by allowing travelers to operate without even having to enter the country.
Last year medical tourism in South Korea grew by 22.7 percent inter annually representing 364,000 travelers of whom 11.3 percent (some 48,000 tourists, mostly Chinese and Japanese) underwent cosmetic surgeries or dermatological treatments.
The Korean Association of Plastic Surgeons and other medical associations have also condemned the idea based on the dangers a patient might face on flights even after undergoing the simplest operations, such as double-eyelid surgeries, which are very popular in Asia.
They explained that pressure changes on board a plane could lead to stitches coming loose in addition to the increased risk of infections due to flight fatigue and lowered immunity.
They further denounced the lack of foresight in terms of legal liability on the possibility that travelers might miss flights having undergone an operation during their stopover.