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Monday, 17 December, 2001, 11:52 GMT
A face-lift - the perfect gift
The vouchers could pay for major cosmetic surgery
People stuck for something to buy their loved ones for Christmas can now give something truly tactless - vouchers for cosmetic surgery.

London-based Harley Medical Group is offering the vouchers - which start from 50 - to help meet the soaring demand for treatments and operations in the UK.

They can be redeemed on everything from Botox injections to breast enlargement operations.

Other treatments covered by the scheme are collagen implants, tummy tucks and liposuction.

For many the vouchers are the difference between buying a friend or loved one a gift they really want and a gift that will merely suffice

Diana Hansen, Harley Group
Diana Hansen, spokeswoman for Harley Group, suggested that opening an envelope and finding one of their vouchers on Christmas morning would not necessarily be unwelcome.

She said: "For many the vouchers are the difference between buying a friend or loved one a gift they really want and a gift that will merely suffice.

"Whether it be a group of friends clubbing together to pay for a pal's first botox injections, or a breast reduction for your mother, the motives for giving the vouchers are endless."

The voucher scheme reflects not only the growing popularity of cosmetic surgery, but also its increasing accepted nature in modern society.

Many celebrities are unashamed about going under the knife to improve their looks.

More rules

However, it is likely that the industry will face tighter regulation in future.

A recent House of Commons Health Committee meeting concluded that advertising controls would have to be toughened to prevent misleading claims about treatments.

It also said that adverts should in future have to carry "health warnings" - saying that not all treatments will be successful.

It also called for a "cooling off period" of 14 days which would allow patients to be absolutely certain about cosmetic surgery before having an operation.

See also:

04 Apr 00 | Health
Infection risk of fashion lenses
23 May 01 | Health
'Grow your own breasts'
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