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.
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.