Sunday, February 10, 2008

New Side to Traditional Korean Holidays--Cosmetic Surgery

I usually discuss the customs, traffic, generational issues, or family aspects of Korea's traditional holidays such as the Lunar New Years--Seol.

This Korea Times article highlights another aspect of the Holiday--a time to get cosmetic surgery.

What I find interesting is that at this time of traditional gift-giving, plastic surgury has become a gift.

Korea Times notes:
For those seeking to sharpen their competitive edge in looks, the Lunar New Year holiday, which ran for as long as nine days for some workers, was a golden opportunity to go under the knife.

Cosmetic surgeons reported higher inquiries and appointments during the holiday, resulting in a spike in the number of people undergoing surgery. Doctors even cut their holidays to perform operations.

A female office worker identified as Park said she had a double eyelid operation during the holiday to prevent people around her knowing she had surgery. ``It's no secret that there are many female workers and students waiting for holidays or vacations to have an operation,'' she said.

An official of W Plastic Surgery Clinic in Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul, said ``We couldn't stop working during the holiday due to a series of scheduled operations.''

``Females in their 20s and 30s usually have a double eyelid operation or nose job, both of which require a relatively short time to recover. As this holiday was nine days, however, the number of patients choosing time-consuming operations such as facial bone contouring, breast augmentation and even a full body makeover rose,'' the official added.

``More than 90 percent of hospital beds we have were reserved last month,'' said Kim Byung-gun, director of BK DongYang Plastic Surgery Clinic, the largest hospital in the field with four branches nationwide.

Middle-aged people also went under the knife to tighten their drooping eyelids, he added.

Recently, cosmetic surgery has emerged as a holiday gift for parents.

A clinic in Seoul recently introduced a new face lifting method utilizing gold thread, saying that the special thread enhances recovery, resulting in patients with a wrinkleless face.

This surgery costs more than 10 million won [$10,000] but appointments for the operation were sold out during the holiday.

``This method minimizes operation traces such as bruising and bloating. And it is much simpler and safer than other types of operation,'' said Kim Jong-whan, a surgeon performing the gold thread operation.

Dental, obesity, dermatology and ophthalmic clinics were also busy taking care of increasing numbers of patients.

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