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The need to smile all day at work is turning young South Koreans towards a surgical procedure that lifts the corners of their mouths.
Cosmetic surgeons in Seoul say they are seeing a sudden rise in demand for the so-called smile surgery this year among men and women in their 20s and 30s, most of whom are concerned about facing criticism at work because of their expressionless miens.
'Even when you are looking like your normal self, people keep asking you: 'Why are you frowning?'' said Kwon Taek-keun, a plastic surgeon in practice for 20 years and known in professional circles as the first in the country to popularize the procedure. 'That's a lot of stress.'
The pictures and video clips that Dr. Kwon's clinic, Aone Plastic & Aesthetic Surgery, posted online have caused a controversy in recent days, attracting derision from some media reports and the blogosphere, and comparisons to the Joker character from the Batman series.
权宅根的诊所Aone Plastic &Aesthetic Surgery在网上发布的照片和视频近几天引发了争论，遭到了一些媒体报道和博客圈的嘲讽，有人甚至将其比作“蝙蝠侠”系列影片中的“小丑”。
But the cosmetic surgeons who carry out the procedure argue people, young and old, come psychologically scarred by hurtful remarks about their naturally downturned lips, especially if they have customer-facing roles. Services-industry workers such as flight attendants and consultants frequent the clinics, according to the surgeons.
Known in the West as 'Valentine anguloplasty' after the heart shape of the removed muscle tissues at the lip's edge, the smile surgery was first developed as a part of an overall anti-aging face lift, Dr. Kwon and other surgeons say. Tightening the drooping face parts didn't restore the lips to the original upturned position, making an extra procedure necessary, they said.
'It is going against gravity, ' said Dr. David Song of Golden View Plastic Surgery. He added that he observes the patient in different poses, such as in a seated position or while lying down, to get the most natural angle for the lips. 'We're restoring the original lip line.'
Golden View Plastic Surgery整形诊所的医生David Song说，这是在对抗重力的作用。他还说，他会观察病人摆出各种姿势，比如坐着或躺着，以便得到最自然的嘴角上扬角度。他说，我们是在修复本来的唇线。
Though South Koreans are some of the most avid users of plastic surgery in the world - the country has the world's highest number of cosmetic surgery procedures per capita, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons - the area around the mouth was relatively unexplored, the surgeons say.
尽管韩国人可以说是全球最热衷于整容的，国际美容整形外科学会(International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons)的数据显示，韩国人均整容手术数量在全球排第一，但整形医生说，嘴巴周围的区域相对来说尚未开发。
The age demographic of clients asking about the smile surgery became substantially younger, the surgeons say, after some celebrities' smiles began attracting public scrutiny earlier this year. Few have admitted to going under the knife for a perkier expressions.
But some clinics now publicize more than 15 different procedures for the lip and the mouth, including enlargement, reduction and gum exposure reduction. The most common procedure? The smile surgery, according to Dr. Cha Seung-youn at ZIEN Plastic Surgery.
但一些诊所目前推出了15种以上的唇部和嘴部手术，包括放大、缩小和减小牙龈外露。最常见的手术是什么？据ZIEN Plastic Surgery整形诊所的医生Cha Seung-youn说，是微笑手术。
'Your eyes and mouth make up the most of your facial expression, ' said Dr. Cha.
With a typical price tag of up to $2, 000, the 'natural' killer smile doesn't come cheap, and Dr. Song warns that consistent care will be needed over a three-to-six months of the recovery period.