In Asia, making "duck faces" is considered cute. And in South Korea, it's cute enough for plastic surgery.
This is "lipline surgery" or, as tipster Sang points out, literally "liptail surgery" (입꼬리 수술 or "ipkkori").
Recently, Reddit posted an image of someone who seems to have undergone the procedure, adding that this is a "new plastic surgery."
It's not really new per se—and look, people can do what they want to their own bodies. There are articles in Korean introducing liptail surgery that date several years back. Here's one from 2011, for example.
In the past, the surgery seems to have been primarily been used as a way to combat frowns naturally caused by aging.
Last year and this year, however, there have been more and more plastic surgeons introducing the surgery as a way to achieve a beautiful smile—all the time, it seems! The target appears to be younger patients.
Here is a collection of photos uploaded by plastic surgeons:
The surgery involves stitches, which might leave some scarring around the corners of the mouth, resulting in a somewhat Joker-like grin.
Since these before and after photos are on plastic surgeons' websites, the photos (and, in turn, these operations) might be for promotional purposes.
It's difficult to tell exactly how popular this procedure is, and this certainly doesn't yet seem to be as common as other procedures. Yes, South Korea has a high rate of plastic surgery, but please don't assume everyone who is getting plastic surgery is having this done! (Also, don't assume every single Korean is undergoing plastic surgery!)
Earlier this summer, Korean site Oh My News covered liptail surgery, noting that surgery isn't necessary for a nice smile and that it can be achieved with practice and by strengthening one's facial muscles.
However, Oh My News does report that the surgery has become somewhat popular among people in the service industry—you know, people who need to smile all day long. Well, after they get this operation, they don't need to smile! They already are smiling. All. The. Time.
입꼬리수술, 감정노동자에겐 필수인가 [Oh My News Thanks, Sang!]
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