Some South Koreans have started the Lunar New Year with a new face after taking advantage of the long holiday break to undergo cosmetic surgery, a report said Monday.

Clinic officials quoted by the Korea Times reported booming business as customers scheduled their operations to give time for facial swellings to subside before returning to work.

"We couldn't stop working during the holiday due to a series of scheduled operations," an official at W Plastic Surgery in Seoul's Gangnam district was quoted as saying.

"Females in their 20s or 30s usually (during holidays) have a double eyelid operation or nose job, both of which require a relatively short time to recover," the official said.

"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."

Many Koreans took two days' annual leave before the Wednesday-Friday public holiday, in addition to their regular weekends off.

"More than 90 percent of the hospital beds we have were reserved last month (for treatment over the holiday)," said Kim Byung-Gun, director of BK DongYang Plastic Surgery Clinic.

SEOUL, Feb 11, 2008 (AFP)


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