South Korean health authorities said Monday they are investigating a plastic surgery clinic in Seoul after photographs emerged online showing medical staff partying in an operating theatre.

In one selfie, posted on photo-sharing app Instagram, staff in scrubs stand around a candlelit birthday cake - with an apparently unconscious patient lying on a bed behind them.

Another picture showed a staffer, wearing a mask and a surgery gown, jokingly placing a gel breast implant over her chest in an operating room. Another showed staff posing while eating hamburgers.  “Our officials are investigating the clinic to see if there was any violation of medical laws,” said a spokeswoman from a public health department in Seoul’s Gangnam district. “They may look into whether such behaviour damaged the reputation of medical practitioners,” she told AFP.  Under South Korea’s medical law, behaviour deemed to tarnish the reputation of the industry can result in suspension.