South Korea sees increase in 'Gangnam Style' face lifts
Seoul has become the unofficial beauty belt for Asian women looking to enhance their facial features - particularly in the Gangnam district, an affluent neighborhood popularized by Korean pop star Psy's viral hit, "Gangnam Style." According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the South Korea capital has seen a spike in women traveling to the city to receive plastic surgery procedures.
One South Korean plastic surgeon told the news outlet that while he has seen patients from Japan and China since the late 1990s, he has noticed an increase in both national and international patients over the years.
In 2012, more than 15,000 women journeyed from nearby Asian countries to one of the hundreds of plastic surgery clinics lining the Gangnam neighborhood, the news source reported. Gangnam accounts for more than 20 percent of the country's medical tourism. Overall, plastic surgeons in the city have performed nearly 650,000 plastic surgery procedures on women in 2012.
South Korea's love affair with plastic surgery has garnered much attention over the years with the rise of Korean pop music and technology. The growing popularity of Korean culture and its influence on the rest of the world might be a reason for the staggering increase in travel to Seoul-based clinics, several plastic surgeons told the news source.
In a report from 2011, The New York Times estimated that South Korea has 4,000 plastic surgery clinics, a majority of them located in Seoul. According to the news outlet, face lifts, double eyelid surgery and jaw reduction are among the most popular procedures among Asian women.
"Koreans agree on what constitutes a pretty face," one plastic surgeon told the news source. "The consensus, now, is a smaller, more sharply defined youthful face - a more or less Westernized look. That makes 90 percent of Koreans potential patients because they're not born with that kind of face."