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” The K-Pop Plastic Surgery Obsession”

The Atlantic.com – By: Zara Stone on 


 – Excerpt of the Full Article – 



Back in New York, Dr. John Kang’s practice is benefitting from the Asian American desire to have cosmetic surgery. He has two offices. One overlooks Central Park, with baroque style fireplaces and a marbled floor. His other is in Flushing, Queens, a predominantly Asian area. Dr. Kang offers consultations and injectables in the Manhattan office and performs surgery in Queens. “I’m all about creating a more harmonious look to the face,” he told me. His face is smooth and unlined, and his skin is bright and clear. When he talks, his hands hit the mahogany tabletop for emphasis. “Good surgery is like a vase,” he said. “Surgery gives it a nice strong base, but you see the vase.” Dr. Kang’s philosophy is about helping nature along. “I always try to copy the natural look, give face the ideal shape it should have been born with,” he said.


Twenty-four-year-old Miss Lee sits on a leather dentist chair in Dr. Kang’s office. Her dark hair is pulled back from her face and a small gold cross rests on her neck.


Methodically, Dr. Kang marks up her face with a black felt tip pen, drawing dots along the bridge of her nose and circling spaces on her chin. Her hands twitch in her lap, idly stroking the rabbit ears on her iPhone case. She is here for fillers, hyaluronic acid, and calcium extracts that will sit inside her face and reshape her profile. They are a temporary alternative to a nose job and a chin implant, and she will have product under her skin for around six months. A fashion student at NYU, Lee wants a more feminine face.


Her nose turns crimson as the syringe enters it, and Dr. Kang taps the top of the bridge. “See this,” he says. “This is a barren area. I’m going to bring it up for elegance. Nothing extreme, just working with what she has got.” More injections follow. Miss Lee looks into a hand mirror. Her nose is red and her chin a little puffy, but her profile has noticeably changed. “Is it going to stay this big?” she asks the doctor. “This is just swelling from the injections,” he assures her. “Within a week it will be much smaller.” He turns to me. “If she likes this, we might do the real thing next time. I’m a surgeon, I can’t help but view the face that way.”


Dr. Kang’s gently, gently approach means he doesn’t offer V-line surgery. He does offer a non-surgical V-line procedure though, injecting Botox into the masseter muscle of the face. This muscle is what enlarges when you chew. By using Botox, it hypertrophies, minimizing the look of the jaw.