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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 May, 2004, 02:46 GMT 03:46 UK
Doctors slam plastic surgery TV
Surgeons operating
Surgeons say the programmes send out the wrong message
Doctors have slammed a raft of new TV programmes on cosmetic surgery.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons said the shows were encouraging people to have surgery for the wrong reasons.

They criticised MTV's I Want a Famous Face, US drama Nip/Tuck and Five's Plastic Surgery Live among others.

Association president Norman Waterhouse urged people who may be considering having plastic surgery to talk to a doctor first.

"One of the things surgeons must evaluate when interviewing patients is whether they have realistic expectations about the potential results," Mr Waterhouse said.

Most plastic surgery is geared toward enhancing a person's appearance while preserving their individuality
Norman Waterhouse ,
British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons
"Wanting to look exactly like a celebrity is a classic example of unrealistic attitudes.

"The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons urges those interested in cosmetic procedures to first speak with a qualified surgeon, as they can provide unbiased information and recommendations."

Surgical makeover

The MTV programme follows people who want to have plastic surgery so that they look like somebody famous.

It has featured a 21-year-old girl from Florida who wanted to resemble Kate Winslet and a 32-year-old man from Las Vegas who wanted to look like Elvis.

Many of those who have been featured have undergone hours of surgery, with varying degrees of success.

Nip/Tuck stars British actress Joely Richardson and has been showing on Sky One. The drama has sparked controversy on both sides of the Atlantic. It has featured graphic scenes, including a man's face being cut off.

UK channel Five announced plans in April to screen Cosmetic Surgery Live later this year. The programme will air every night for two weeks and will feature live plastic surgery operations.

The doctors also criticised US programme Extreme Makeovers, which shows graphic images of people undergoing radical surgery to change their appearance.

Mr Waterhouse said these programmes were sending out the wrong message to people.

"Viewers of these shows may be encouraged to regard 'extreme' changes as the goal of cosmetic procedures, when in fact most plastic surgery is geared toward enhancing a person's appearance while preserving their individuality," he said.

A spokesman for Five backed its planned programmes.

"This is a subject that has become increasingly popular and accessible in the last couple of years.

"The two-week event will involve viewers in aspects of cosmetic surgery they have never experienced before.

"Anyone watching this is going to have an unprecedented insight to what plastic surgery involves and what the consequences are from both a scientific and human perspective."

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