Page last updated at 00:28 GMT, Monday, 26 January 2009

Breast ops defy financial gloom

Male breast
Surgery to reduce male breast size is becoming more popular

Cosmetic surgery has so far avoided the effects of the economic downturn - with more people in the UK than ever choosing to go under the knife.

Figures released by the profession revealed soaring rates of breast operations - with reduction of "man-breasts" among the fastest rising.

In total, 34,187 procedures were carried out last year- up 5% from 2007.

A top surgeon warned in cash-strapped times, it was vital patients did not make decisions based solely on price.

Breast Augmentation: 8,449 (up 30%)
Eyelid Surgery: 5,130 (down 10%)
Face/Neck Lift: 4,547 (up 1.7%)
Breast Reduction: 3,845 (up 13%)
Tummy tuck: 3,638 (up 30%)
While many other parts of the economy are contracting, the overall number of people undergoing cosmetic surgery keeps increasing, with the number of procedures more than tripling since 2003.

While women account for the vast majority of procedures, it appears that men are one of the main forces behind continued growth.

The figures from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons revealed a total of 323 operations to reduce the size of male breasts in 2008, an increase of 44% over the previous year, and a rise of well over 1,000% since 2003.

Big rises were also seen in men having ear correction, eyelid surgery and brow lifts.

Mr Rajiv Grover, a consultant plastic surgeon, said that this might be due to more publicity about the procedures.

"There has been a dramatic rise in the number of procedures such as male breast reduction and brow lifts - this may be due to heightened media attention, which has allowed men to realise the positive outcomes that can be achieved."

Tummy tuck

Among women, breast augmentation procedures rose by 30% to more than 8,000 last year, with a similar rise in the number of "tummy-tucks".

However, both women and men appear to be falling out of love with liposuction, with nearly a third fewer procedures in women.

Mr Nigel Mercer, BAAPS president, said: "These figures indicate that despite the beginnings of a financial downturn last year, the public's interest in aesthetic surgery remained strong.

"We are encouraged by the fact that more people are doing their research carefully and choosing reputable providers."

However, he added: "In the current climate it is even more important that patients seeking cosmetic surgical procedures do not make decisions based solely on price."

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