Seoul Clinic Fined for Twin Towers of Jaw Bones

A prominent plastic surgery clinic in Seoul’s affluent Gangnam district has been issued a fine for displaying a decorative tower made of jaw and chin bones that were removed from patients during facial contouring procedures.



The Gangnam district office on Wednesday required the clinic to remove the lobby exhibition and levied a 3 million won fine ($3,200 USD) for violating medical waste disposal laws.


Ironically, the cost of shaving off sections of jawbone averages around 3.5 million won, so in theory the cost of a surgeon removing jaw bone fragments surgically, roughly equals the fine for a surgeon to remove an entire display filled with thousands of jaw bones.


The clinic uploaded a photo of the ghastly towers on its website informing potential patients that they will be able to see what has been cut off their faces. The stunt was apparently a way to boast the surgeon’s skill.


The towers consisted of approximately 2,000 bone fragments from around 1,000 patients, and  each patient had their name written on them.


The bone tower drew online attention after a mobile phone user posted a photo of it on social media sites on Sunday, invoking a backlash of comments. A formal complaint was then filed by a citizen with the Gangnam district office on Tuesday, moving officials to order its removal.


The director of the clinic told officials he did not know that it was a violation and quickly removed it. A Gangnam district spokesperson said there are no plans to take further legal action, since the clinic was fined and the sanitised plastic encased tower posed no concern of pollution or health risk.


According to health regulations, medical facilities must hold by-products from surgery in appropriate canisters and move them using special vehicles to incineration centers. Not doing so may result in a maximum two-year prison sentence or up to a 10 million won in fines.


Our Opinion:


The attention that these towers have drawn seems to have actually paid off for the clinic. Although it violated some government codes, it’s actually quite impressive how many jaw and chin bones this surgeon sculpted.


For any questions, feel free to ask and comment on our Forum

Bizzare Love, Blackmail and Plastic Surgery


Mr. Jeon (37) is a Korean criminal prosecutor who is currently under investigation for blackmailing and extorting Dr. Choi (43), a Seoul plastic surgeon and clinic director. Jeon is accused of illegally manipulating Dr. Choi to perform free cosmetic surgery procedures for his celebrity girlfriend and making the doctor forfeit 22 million won ($21,000 USD) over to her as restitution for previous procedures she had with him. Jeon’s celebrity girlfriend is Yoon Jee Lee (32) better known by her stage name “Amy Lee,” a TV talk show host sometimes dubbed by as “Korea’s Paris Hilton” for her erratic behavior.


Prosecutor Jeon first made headlines in 2012 for scoring major convictions against three Korean celebrities and two plastic surgeons for propofol abuse, a powerful and highly addictive sedative that is injected at many of Seoul’s medical beauty clinics for sedation, but is becoming a popular drug for entertainers who want to get high. It became infamous in 2009 for killing Michael Jackson.


This is where it gets weird


Bizarrely, Amy Lee was actually one of those three celebrities Jeon indicted back in 2012. In other words, he’s the one who put Amy in prison for having 111 propofol injections, but later became her boyfriend.


They oddly began dating in December 2012, after Amy’s early parole release in which she served 49 days of an 8 month prison sentence. “We started seeing each other about a month after my prison release,” said Amy on a Korean TV program interview.


Jeon wrote to Amy while she was in prison to console her and also began to help her with personal favors after her discharge. Friends with benefits?


Jeon ‘Oppa’ Comes to the Rescue ‘Gangnam Style’


The strange development of their relationship was not without reason. Jeon had suffered from severe psychological despair when he found out a previous defendant (non-celebrity) he had prosecuted for illegal propofol use had committed suicide after the case was closed.


Consequently, he was worried that Amy wouldn’t be able to continue her celebrity career because of him, and felt great responsibility to take care of her, or maybe he wanted to have a Korean celebrity as a lover.


Jeon applied for a bank and credit card loan in order to give Amy a gift of around 100,000,000 KRW (≈ 93,720 USD). Dating a Gangnam girl is expensive, but dating a Gangnam celebrity is even pricier, this is the very definition of Gangnam Style, buying things you can’t afford.


As they grew closer, Amy told him about the side effects of her plastic surgery from Dr. Choi, which she had cited as the reason for her abuse of the medication, and sought Jeon’s help.


The surgery had happened before her arrest and although it was successful, she was restricted from receiving post-operation care during her prison confinement, which led to an infection around the surgical site.


Jeon accompanied Amy to the plastic surgery clinic located in the affluent Gangnam district 4-5 times during the weekends.


Another Bizarre Twist


Around the same time, prosecutors in Seoul had launched a major probe of propofol abuse in Gangnam clinics, and Dr. Choi’s clinic was among the targets.


At first, Jeon and Amy’s talks with Dr. Choi seemed to go well. However, when they encountered several disagreements, Jeon supposedly threatened Choi by saying, “I will help you resolve your current criminal predicament (propofol) if you perform the revision surgery, but if you don’t, I will use warrants to shut your hospital down.”


As a result, Amy had three plastic surgeries (worth 7,000,000 KRW ≈ 6,560 USD) by March 2013, and received 9 money transfer payments that accumulated to 22,500,000 KRW (≈ 21,090 USD) from Dr. Choi.


The Twists Keep on Coming


Jeon’s criminal actions were revealed unexpectedly when Dr. Choi was sued by an employee (Miss Kim, age 37) for supposedly raping her while being high on propofol. In the process of police investigating text messages regarding the rape case, the blackmailing history between Prosecutor Jeon and Dr. Choi was revealed.


Dr. Choi has denied the rape accusations and is now counter suing Miss Kim.


Amy Lee, who comes from a wealthy family, was born in the U.S. and has a degree in hotel management from the University of Nevada. She became famous with a cable TV program in 2008.


What do you think?

Feel free to comment in our Forum Section

Korean Love Band Surgery - Aegyosal


When we think of bulges underneath our eyes, such as bags, they’re usually something unattractive that we want to get rid of by daubing on countless cucumbers, cosmetic eye creams and moisturizers. If that’s the case, how could having a bulge underneath the eyes possibly be desirable or even cute? Well, there’s a difference between an “eye bag” and a “love band” or Aegyosal (애교살) – the Korean term for creating volume on the lower eyelid through cosmetic surgery or makeup techniques.


The difference between the unattractive eye bag and attractive Korean love band is all about location. Eye bags are usually bulges beneath the lower eyelid in the tear trough area, while aegyosal is above this area and directly on the lower eyelid.


Why Do Some Korean Women Want Aegyosal?




To boost their aegyo powers and appeal. Aegyosal is mash up of two Korean words – Aegyo an expression to describe a behavioral charm that is cute, lovely and innocent, and Sal, meaning flesh (muscle & fat). Together it means something close to “cute eye fat” in English or cosmetically referred to as Korean Love Band.  The concept of aegyo is hard to explain (Simon & Martina do a good job describing it), but it’s a defining, and often positively associated characteristic of young Korean females. It’s an innocent and cute childlike allure that some Korean women consciously tap into in order to communicate, attract and influence, while rendering many Korean men powerless against its charm. This type of femininity is not uniquely Korean, but Korean entertainment culture has popularized it.


Having aegyosal around ones eyes has the physical effect of making one look more angelic, cute and also accents the eyes to make them appear bigger.


How to Create a Love Band or Aegyosal?


1) Korean Love Band via Derma Filler or Fat Injection – Temporary


A derma filler is a hyaluronic acid based gel, such as Restylane, that is injected in the lower eyelid area by a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon to create the volume. The benefit is that it’s temporary (9 months and in some cases 2 years), so if you decide it doesn’t suit you, it will naturally go away, or you can come back for a touch up.


An alternative method is to use a fat graft, which is semi-permanent. Fat is taken from one part of the body and prepared to be injected into the area. This can last longer than a filler, but there is a chance the body can reabsorb it, so a touch up may be required.


Practitioner skill and expertise really come into play with fillers because the shape and consistency from fillers is not easily controllable.


2) Korean Love Band via Surgical Implant – Permanent


Example procedure from Dr. Kleiman Plastic Surgery

This is a surgical method using artificial dermis (fake tissue such as alloderm) that is inserted and secured into place via a small incision of 2~3mm in the area below the eyes. It takes approximately 30 minutes for the procedure and the effect is permanently maintained.  Patients can continue normal daily activities 3~4 days after the surgery.


Before and After



Before and After photos from ITEM Plastic Surgery in Gangnam, Seoul.




Korean Plastic Surgery Prices - Do foreign patients pay more than Koreans?


Yes they usually do, and it’s actually a very common scenario you may encounter. Not all, but many clinics do have different tiers for foreigner and native Korean plastic surgery prices. This is often due to tax purposes because a clinic that services foreign patients, and follows proper accounting rules, records this in their books and at the end of the year pay higher taxes for earning foreign sourced income.


Before you scream, “Bloody Murder!” Let me explain why, and if you want some tips on how you can level the pricing playing field, post your question here. But first I want to say that price should not be the deciding factor for choosing clinics, instead it should be things like the doctor’s qualifications and skills, quality of service and post operative care.


The Economics of Gangnam Beauty – Clinic Supply Saturation




Let’s keep in mind that plastic surgery is a business, and the goal of every business is to make a profit. However, demand for plastic surgery amongst local Koreans is seasonal and fluctuates like any industry. Sometimes it slows down due to the economy, even though the international media makes it out as if every Korean is going under the knife – this isn’t actually the case. This lower demand mixed with an over supply of clinics means dropping prices for Koreans. Lesser prices means lesser profit margins, so clinics offset this through the ever-increasing demand from foreigners who are willing and able to pay more than Koreans.


Foreigners do not have the same level of access to the 500+ clinics as locals because of the Korean language barrier. They usually find clinics that are setup to deal with international patients, which is a smaller slice of the pie. Also, foreigners tend to have higher price or budget thresholds than Koreans because plastic surgery is usually more expensive in their local country or is not as developed as Korean practices. In addition, opening doors to foreign patients is an expensive pursuit for Korean clinics. They need to pass an extra set of government inspections and standards by investing in their facilities, services and staff to accommodate international patients.


All things considered, this is why Korean clinics justify a separate pricing tier for foreigners.


In short, do not be put off that you’re paying more than a local because at the end of the day, if you picked a great clinic and it’s within your budget, then you’re still getting a lot of value. Nonetheless, price discrimination is still unfair, and the government recognizes that and is taking steps to resolve the issue in the long term, especially since new taxes will make surgery costs more expensive in the future.


Korean Plastic Surgery Prices and New Taxes


Price competitiveness with the West may start to change because of government taxes, and in 2014 the following new tax is kicking in:


Seoul has announced plans to levy a 10% sales tax on popular cosmetic procedures such as lip augmentation, chin reduction and body hair removal, from 2014, in a bid to address increased cost demands of a rapidly ageing population.