Author Topic: Surgery Done With Dr. Jeon - Evita Clinic - Seoul, Korea  (Read 660 times)

Offline medicaltourist1

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I’ve finally just had my surgery and am here to detail my experience. This has been a long time in the making and this is a long read. This is written with my personal experiences, observations, and opinions, none of which are meant to be offensive.

I’m from the U.S. My plan was to travel to India and Korea and have consultations with several doctors I had chosen beforehand. I would then choose a doctor, rent an AirBnB for a month, and spend my recovery time in that city. This would give me a chance to make a thorough recovery and at the same time experience a new city/country for a solid month. I originally looked at India and Korea because of their reputations for quality medical care at low prices. Paying $7000-$15000 in the US is not in my budget. I can travel to India or Korea, have the surgery, and stay for a month, all for less than the cheapest surgeon in the US. Medical tourism is booming, and lots of people are traveling for cheap healthcare that rivals the quality of our own. I was already traveling around Asia for a year, so I just incorporated this surgery into the trip to lower my costs even more. I was considering India as my first choice and Korea as my backup, but based on my research from the U.S., I was fairly confident that I would choose India. This was before visiting India.

Some things to understand about India:
(Mumbai and Bangalore)

If you’ve never been to India, you’d be shocked at how filthy it is. The level of hygiene here is very low. There is garbage and filth everywhere. There are open sewers, cows wandering the streets eating the garbage and shitting at will, people urinating and even sometimes shitting in public, and everything here is covered in grime. The air is extremely polluted and the water supply is even worse. Yes, there are dirty cities in the US and in other developed countries. But India is another level of dirty. All of the raw garbage, waste, filth, and feces gets driven over, walked on, ground into dust, and then blown around by the wind. People breath it, they eat it, they live in it. Any local body of water is completely polluted and full of trash and sewage. India has some of the highest levels of bacteria and antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the world. This worried me when I arrived in India and I wondered how I was going to have surgery in such a place. I still kept my appointments with the 3 doctors I had been in contact with: Dr. Naveen Rao, Dr. Sandip Jain, and Dr. Milan Doshi. I had narrowed my final search down to these 3 and booked appointments with each of them.

Naveen Rao - Bangalore
Quote: $1800 USD
Power-assisted Liposuction
Gland removal

I met with Dr. Rao at Apollo Hospital Bannerghatta in Bangalore. The hospital was about 10 minutes away from his office. He was a kind and humble man and I immediately felt comfortable with him. He was very thorough in his exam and explanation of my condition and the surgery. He went through every step of the surgery and recovery and laid out all the details and highlighted every risk. He told me that I have grade 2/3 gynecomastia and he told me that he would not perform a donut mastopexy (skin tightening) initially, as he likes to wait a year to avoid unnecessary scars. He said in most cases the skin will tighten itself and if after 1 year it hasn’t, then to look into skin tightening at that time. This is the method I prefer, as mastopexy scars can be pretty bad depending on how your scars heal and stretch. He uses liposuction and removes the gland through an incision in the areola. I could really tell that he knew what he was doing. I felt comfortable with him as a surgeon. I consulted with him because of the good reviews he has gotten.

However, I did not feel at all comfortable with the hospital where he operates. I had high hopes that the hospital would be a safe haven from the filth but it did not seem to be. I did not see the operating theater, but every other part of the hospital that I walked through was dirty. Floors, walls, everything was dirty. Many parts of the hospital had open doors to the outside, allowing the filthy air and dust from outside to come in. Air vents inside the hospital were dirty. Staff didn’t seem to care about these conditions. There just wasn’t a high level of hygiene inside the hospital and it looked generally run down. According to locals, this is a very good hospital. Having worked in a US hospital for 10 years, I understand healthcare hygiene better than the average person who was never trained in it. I have very high standards for a good reason. Apollo Hospital failed in that sense. Perhaps the operating theater was clean, but based on what I saw in the rest of the building, I wasn’t going to have surgery here. The Indian standard of cleanliness is much, much lower than the US standard. I’m not lowering my standard and risking my health to save a few bucks. 

Sandip Jain - CosmoSurg - Mumbai
Quote: $3000 USD
Traditional Liposuction
Gland Removal
Donut Mastopexy

Dr. Jain has been at the top of my list for years. I’ve been following him on the internet since I started this quest. When I had my consultation with him at his office, he was very detailed. He asked me many questions about my health, medical history, weight history, goals, etc. He did the most comprehensive exam out of all 3 doctors I saw. He actually took measurements with medical calipers and spent a good amount of time with the physical examination. He did all of his explaining on a large monitor with a stylus, using easy to understand drawings of the procedure. He explained the process, the surgery, the recovery, and the risks. He was extremely thorough and didn’t leave anything out. He also said I was a grade 2/3. He insisted on a donut mastopexy for skin tightening and said that he wouldn’t do the surgery without it. I have read that he insists on this procedure for a lot of his patients and it was the only part that bothered me. Out of the 3 doctors that I had consultations with, he’s the only one who insisted on it. I’m not a surgeon but I have done enough research on this to know that I would rather have the surgery and wait to see if I need skin tightening at a later time. I have no doubts that Dr. Jain is an excellent surgeon but I do not want a donut mastopexy initially. Dr. Jain said if I proceeded with the surgery, he would operate at Wockhardt Hospital. I did not visit this facility as I did not want to go any further with him.

Milan Doshi - Mumbai - Allure MedSpa
Quote: $2000 USD
Vaser Liposuction
Gland Removal

As a person, I liked Dr. Doshi the best. He is extremely warm, friendly, and ensures that you have no questions or concerns left at the end of the consult. He gave me his number and insisted that I call him if I think of anything. Dr. Doshi did a fairly comprehensive exam and also rated me a 2/3. He does not like to use donut mastopexy initially and also suggested waiting 1 year before doing it, citing a low chance of needing it. He was confident that the Vaser method would tighten any loose skin over time. He also showed me several pictures of cases that were worse than mine in which after one year, no skin tightening had been necessary.
He has his own clinic at Goregoan (area in Mumbai) and also has the option to use Lilavati Hospital. After visiting his operating clinic (Goregoan), I opted for Lilavati Hospital. I was simply not comfortable with the level of hygiene in his private clinic. Windows in the building were left open for ventilation but I would assume they would be closed during surgery. However, this allows all the outside grime and bacteria to come inside the building. Aside from that, the other patient areas of the building were somewhat run down and not very clean. The inside of the operating theater appeared older and worn down and did not give me a good impression. I want to look at a facility and feel good about having surgery there. Unfortunately, Dr. Doshi’s operating facility didn’t make me feel good. Again, I’m not risking my health to save a few dollars. I visited Lilavati Hospital and the place was immaculate. I did not see an operating theater but the interior of the hospital was very clean and modern. I would have been comfortable having my surgery there.

Allure MedSpa (the clinic itself)

If you’ve done any gynecomastia research, you’ve likely seen Allure advertisements. They do some heavy marketing to international clients, but their patient relations side could use some improvement. Allure was the most difficult in terms of communication and dealing with office staff. Everyone that works there is super nice, but there is definitely a language barrier (that they seem to pretend doesn’t exist) that leads to some confusion and headache. In terms of India, it’s a very nice operation. But they are specifically trying to target and market to Westerners, and they really need to work on some things. During the course of my communication with them, I seem to have been dealing with 3 different people and it didn’t appear that they were communicating with each other. Additionally, anytime I tried to contact this clinic via email, I received an avalanche (possibly automated) of marketing information about the procedure and how awesome Allure is. This was often in response to asking a simple question. Most communication is on WhatsApp (which is fine) but it seems to be very informal and complicated. I’ve dealt with some other clinics in other parts of the world who had excellent English-speaking representatives who did a great job of staying in touch and communicating. Overall, Allure is pretty decent, and I ultimately chose Dr. Doshi as my surgeon. Allure just needs some organization and communication work.

After choosing Dr. Doshi out of the 3 doctors I moved forward. However I did not end up having surgery in India because of all the trouble I had with the Indian government issuing a medical permit to compliment my tourist visa. If you come to India for surgery, you need a medical visa. You get this based on having chosen a doctor/facility beforehand and then applying for the medical visa based on paperwork from that doctor. In my case, I wanted to have consultations with 3 doctors before I chose. Thus I had to enter on a tourist visa and then apply for a Medical Permit to go along with it once I chose a doctor/facility. Everything is ridiculously and unnecessarily complicated in India, especially when it comes to government. I had a great deal of trouble (for nearly a week) trying to get the permit and finally hit a brick wall in the process. My gut told me this was a sign that I should not have the surgery there so I stopped and booked a ticket to South Korea.

See next post for part 2


Offline medicaltourist1

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A word about Korea (Seoul, specifically):

Seoul is an amazing city. Think of a mix between Seattle and Chicago. But super clean with with a very strong, distinct, and established Asian culture. It’s super safe, fun, and very unique. The subway and bus systems are very easy to use, expansive, and cheap. Infrastructure is strong and everything is super modern. It’s expensive compared to the rest of Asia, but on par with Western prices. I found an AirBnB here for about $700 for one month for everything, including free food. There are cheaper ones available but 1- they aren’t as nice, and 2- I’m very tall and it’s the only one that had a bed my size. It’s a tiny apartment in a building that has a shared kitchen and laundry. But it’s perfect for recovering. I spend most of my day out exploring the city anyway. After experiencing this City/Country, I am so, so unbelievably glad I left India and had the surgery here. Same price, 1000x better in every respect. I have traveled around to some smaller cities in Korea also and had a great experience. If you’re from the US, you get 90 days entry on arrival.

Evita Clinic - Seoul, Korea
Quote: $1800 USD
Laser Liposuction
Gland Removal

I’ve read a few accounts of people who used Evita Clinic for gynecomastia and they were positive enough that I wanted to have a consult with them. They also have a very comprehensive website about the condition and procedure. I scheduled one and went. They were super friendly, the facility was clean and nice, and the doctor was very warm and friendly. I’ve been researching Dr. Jeon for a few months and have read and watched some of his work. He specializes in gynecomastia surgery. When I arrived for my consult, the nurse took me back to the consult room. I had a body scan (measures body makeup) and then met with Dr. Jeon. I liked him right away. He was very detailed and thorough and went through everything about gynecomastia and my case. He did an examination and told me that I was between a grade 2/3. He said I would have loose skin but that he would do the grade 2 surgery with no skin removal. He said I would have a little sagging, but between my skin tightening itself after the surgery and me working out and filling that space with muscle, I should have decent results. I did not want to have skin reduction initially, I would rather wait the 6-8 months and then have it if I need it. He agreed with this. I scheduled the surgery that day for the next week, even though I still had a consultation with JK Plastic the next day.

JK Plastic - Seoul, Korea
Quote: $5500 USD without skin removal, $11,000 USD with skin removal

JK Plastic is “government approved” (whatever that means) clinic and prices accordingly. They are the top plastic surgery clinic in Korea. They cater to celebrities and the wealthy. I did not feel very welcome at this clinic, and felt that I was being rushed through my consultation. I felt that I was inconveniencing them just by being there. They were friendly, but it was a forced friendliness that was so professional that it came off as cold. After filling out a form, I was rushed to a consultation room where I waited 20 minutes past my appointment time for the doctor. I was given a book of about 60 cases to look at, only 2 of which were gynecomastia. When the doctor finally arrived, he appeared to be in a huge hurry, and while he answered my questions, his assistant was facilitating his exit from the room and rushing me to finish. The doctor drew on me and explained the procedure, telling me that he was going to leave 2 horizontal scars across my chest with no mention of the donut mastopexy that the other doctors offered. They also told me that they didn’t have any compression vests my size so I would just have my recovery without one. I found this bizarre. The doctor then left, the assistant gave me the written quote and told me to call her if I wanted to schedule, and then rushed me back to the front door. I knew within the first 10 minutes at JK Plastic that I wasn’t going to use them and that Evita was the right choice. I’m still astounded at how terrible this experience was, especially at one of the most notable clinics in Seoul.

Day 1:

Surgery day @ Evita:

I arrived at 10am and was taken to my recovery room. The room is like a really nice hotel room. There is no bathroom in the room because they want you to walk down the hall so you are moving around after the surgery; it’s a smart design. The room is very comfortable, with a medical bed, couch, and some nice chairs. I left all my clothes in there and changed into some weird paper underwear and a robe. I was then taken for another body scan and very thorough photographs. After that, I had another consult with Dr. Jeon in his office. He explained the surgery, made sure I had all my questions answered, then drew on me with marker. He even went so far as to tell me what each of the different colored lines meant. As I said, he’s very thorough. I was then taken to the operating theater and laid down on the table. I was very nervous at this point and the nurses could tell. They were all super friendly and reassuring and did their best to make me comfortable. They started the IV in my left arm, put the oxygen hose on my face, and strapped me down to the table. This part didn’t bother me but I imagine it could bother some people who don’t like to be restrained. They did tell me beforehand that this was going to happen so it wasn’t a surprise. After a few minutes of prep Dr. Jeon came in and asked me how I was doing and made small talk. At that point the nurse started the IV (Propofol). In less than a minute after she pressed the button to start the flow of sedative I began to feel it in my head. I was very sleepy so I closed my eyes for just a second and then opened them again and it was over. Surgery took about 3 hours but felt like a split second. As I regained consciousness I was still very groggy and the nurses were lifting me up so they could apply a very tight band around my chest. I was then walked to the recovery room and laid down in the bed (which was heated and so nice) and promptly passed out again. I think I slept for about another hour and very slowly came out of a thick fog. This is my second time having a Propofol nap, the first was for oral surgery a few years ago. If you’ve never experienced it, it’s amazing. It took me a while to get fully awake and I was quite groggy and dizzy. The nurse came to check on me and told me that I should get up and move around to expedite the recovery process. I got up and they brought me some water and Gatorade and I began moving around. My head still felt very heavy and I continued to walk around the room to try and get clear headed. I eventually had to pee (they won’t let you leave until you can pee) so I was walked to the bathroom still very dizzy. I felt like I was drunk. In another 30 minutes or so, I was not dizzy anymore and had peed twice so they said I was ok to leave if I was comfortable with it. The nurse came in took off the surgical compression band around my chest and helped me put the compression vest on. She then taught me how to empty my drains and instructed me to record how much fluid I dumped out each time. It’s quite easy. I got dressed and left, stopping at the pharmacy they sent me to. It’s 1 block from Evita Clinic, very easy to find. They give you paperwork, you take it to the pharmacy and they fill your prescription right then. They divide it up into separate breakfast, lunch, and dinner packets for each of 5 days - it’s very convenient.

After the pharmacy, I headed back to my apartment. This was a real adventure. I did not want to ride in a taxi because the drivers in Seoul are absolutely nuts and I didn’t want to get thrashed around in the car after surgery. So I took the subway so I could walk at my own pace and take my time. If you do this, use the elevators and not the stairs. Having been in Seoul for 2 weeks at this point, I was very familiar with the subway system and can travel most places without needing a map. However, as I made my way back to my apartment, I took the wrong train 3 times and got lost twice in the wrong subway stations, wandering around like an idiot. It was quite humorous. I was still very confused and disoriented from the Propofol which is why I got lost and took the wrong trains. It was fun though, like being drunk and confused without the dizziness. In Seoul this is not a problem – it is very safe here and I don’t worry about anything bad happening to me. I finally made it back to my apartment, my chest still totally numb from the surgery.

I was told to sleep on my stomach for only the first night to keep everything compressed. I never sleep on my stomach so this was uncomfortable for me but I did it. I was afraid to fall asleep and rip out my drains so I hardly slept. The drains aren’t uncomfortable but it’s annoying having two bottles hanging off of your compression vest.

Day 2:

I’m still quite numb but my chest feels tight. I have terrible posture from having gynecomastia for so many years and now I want to stand up straight but it’s too uncomfortable right now. It’s a combination of the surgery trauma, the bandage tape pulling on my skin, and the compression vest pulling on everything. I’m in no pain, just discomfort. I’m also very tired because I didn’t sleep well or much at all on my stomach.
I returned to Evita today for my appointment for the day after surgery. I was taken to a treatment room and they removed the compression vest and bandages. I was then given a laser light treatment on my chest. It takes about 10 minutes - I just laid there and they put a light over my chest and let it run through a cycle. I didn’t feel anything but the bed was heated so it was very relaxing. Then they took me to the operating theater so Dr. Jeon could remove the drains. He snips the single stitch holding the tube in and slowly pulls the tubes out of my chest. It doesn’t hurt but is definitely a strange sensation. He then stapled the tube holes shut and applied waterproof bandages to the surgery sites and the tube sites. He told me I could take a shower now. I have to come back in 1 week to have the staples removed.

Day 3:

I slept much better on my back last night. It’s nice not having to deal with the drains hanging off of me. I’m starting to feel more pain in my chest but it’s very manageable with the NSAID pain relievers they gave me. It feels like I worked out too hard and beat up my chest in the gym. I’ve done it before and it’s the same feeling now. Aside from that, my chest is very tender and hurts when I touch it. This is normal, and is to be expected after this type of surgery. I’ve been walking a lot and drinking lots of water. It’s easier to stand up straight now because the drains and large bandages are gone and there’s nothing pulling on my skin. It’s such a new feeling to walk straight and tall instead of hunched over as I have been for so many years. Some of the discomfort I’m feeling now is from standing up straight - all the muscles and joints that have gotten used to the poor posture are now being required to work differently. It’s tiring and I can’t wait until the recovery is complete so I can start working out to rebuild the muscles required for good posture. Even though I’m still swollen, I feel like a new person simply because my chest is normal-looking compared to how it was before.

Day 4:

Today I’m about 50% more sore than yesterday, and there’s some mild pain mixed with the discomfort. It’s the exact same feeling from working out too hard in the gym. My chest is tender and sore from the surgery, and my back and sides are really bothering me from standing up straight all the time now. It’s an ongoing effort to walk/stand/sit with proper posture and the muscles responsible for this are definitely complaining. I know this is temporary. I walked about 11km around Seoul today, and I had to slow myself down a bit as I was pushing too hard. Things like walking down stairs, walking down steep hills, or stepping off curbs can transfer that shock into my chest and it doesn’t feel good.

Day 5:

Today I finished my meds. I’m feeling pretty good overall, still some tightness and soreness in my chest. But it seems that the worst of the discomfort is over. I’m only mildly sore now, and only when reaching or moving abnormally. My staple sites are starting to itch, so that’s a good sign because it means the incisions are healing. I go in on Day 7 to have them removed and receive an RF massage. I’m really very surprised that I’ve gotten by on only NSAID pain relievers. I really thought they were going to prescribe me something stronger (Vicodin, Tramadol) but all they gave me was Ibuprofen and Aceclofenac. While something stronger would have been nice, I certainly didn’t have any terrible pain. As I said, the worst of it was just strong discomfort. The compression vest is starting to bother me a bit. On one hand I like wearing it because I feel slim and compressed and it gives a certain sense of security, like being tucked into a nice tight blanket. I’ve been wearing GC2 compression shirts for years, so the vest isn’t anything new, although slightly tighter. On the other hand, it’s got smaller arm holes than the GC2 so it’s pinching and squeezing a bit and sometimes gets uncomfortable. But overall, it’s really not bad at all. My chest is still somewhat numb and still quite tender, and if I accidentally hit or bump it, it aches for a bit afterwards in that spot. Also I’m starting to turn yellow/brown, the first stages of bruising. I’m sure I will be purple within a week. A “simple” surgery, but when you think about the trauma caused buy aggressively separating skin and fat and tissue from each other and then sticking it all back together, it’s pretty impressive that it’s been this easy of a process.

Day 6:

Today was better than yesterday. Having finished my prescribed medications, I’ve just been taking Ibuprofen to keep inflammation down and help with the discomfort. No pain unless I press on my chest, and the general level of discomfort is decreasing with each day. It’s cold in Seoul right now, and today I was thinking how terrible it would be wearing this compression vest in the heat of the summer. Not only would it be constantly soaked with sweat, it would be rubbing and chafing and terribly uncomfortable to wear 24 hours a day for a month. This is another benefit to me having the surgery in winter in a cold country. Tomorrow the staples come out and I’m supposed to have my RF massage - not sure how that’s going to feel considering how tender my chest is right now.

Day 7 - 1 Week Post-Op:

Went to my appointment today and they started with the RF massage. It basically looks like a sonogram machine. They put lotion on my chest and rubbed a hand-held device all around my upper chest for about 10-12 minutes. It was warm and despite me being sore, it felt really nice. After that was finished, they gave me another laser healing treatment. It was the same as before, I just laid there for 10 minutes and they put a thing above my chest which lights up and is supposed to accelerate wound healing. Then the doctor examined me and removed 1/2 of my total staples. He said the incision sites needed another week to remove the rest of the staples. I was dreading this initially because when I was a kid, I had surgery on my arm and they didn’t numb it before removing the stitches. It was excruciating and I didn’t want to go through that again. Well my nipples and the surrounding area is still completely numb so I didn’t even feel the staples being removed. They put special tape over the sites and told me I could take a shower. Dr. Jeon also said that the sagging in my chest is less than it was the day of surgery, a result of the skin tightening itself. He said it should continue to tighten as the months go on. Then we went to the picture room and they took 1-week photos for progress comparison. They told me to come back in a week for another RF massage and removal of the remaining staples. Some of the soreness has gone away but now I’m feeling a different type of soreness. The doctor says this is normal and part of the healing process. I’m still quite swollen which is also normal. Overall I’m amazed that my recovery is this easy. I was really expecting a lot worse. I’ve been eating healthy, drinking water, and walking about 10km a day. As part of the surgery, Evita sends the removed tissue to a lab to be tested for cancer. They give you the results at your 1 week follow-up appointment. I’m happy to say mine came back negative.

This has been my experience thus far. I will continue to update this with progress pictures regularly instead of daily updates. I’m happy to answer any questions but please do not fill this thread up with requests for more pictures, I will post them when I have time.


« Last Edit: December 07, 2018, 04:29:11 AM by medicaltourist1 »


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