Monday, November 2, 1998 Published at 20:33 GMT
Clinic considers cosmetic surgery for 11-year-old
LST Clinic: 'I see no problem with her being 11-years-old'
Eleven-year-old Jamie-Lee Mason wants a nose job. Although she is quite happy to wait until she is older to have the operation, she agreed to go undercover for BBC's Here and Now programme to find out how far she would get when she asked for cosmetic surgery at one private London clinic.
More children are turning to cosmetic surgery to change their looks than ever before and lack of regulation over clinics that perform the operations means there is little to stop them going ahead.
Jamie-Lee, who comes from a showbiz family, wants to be a singer and dancer. However, she feels her looks are holding her back.
"Mummy had a concord nose at my age and I don't want it," she said.
"You look at people like B*witched and they have got nice noses and then you see me."
Cosmetic surgeon Nicholas Parkhurst said: "It is up to the surgeon to establish, very often with the help of the GP and after careful consultation, that someone really does have an overriding problem with a particular aspect of their body shape."
An 11-year-old girl even if she was precocious is unlikely to be skeletally mature. I would approach that with immense caution."
However, when Jamie-Lee visited the LST Clinic in Harley Street, a consultant carried out a free examination and discussed possible treatments.
The consultant said surgery would be no problem - and only then admitted she was not a surgeon, or even medically qualified.
She said that for £200-£300 she could arrange an appointment for Jamie-Lee to see a doctor.
"We were really pressurised into parting with some money. They wanted money and they wanted it then," said Jamie-Lee's mother Mary.
LST clinics issued a statement that said: "Treatment would only proceed for medical or clinical reasons, not for professional vanity."
However, when Jamie-Lee's mother gave "professional vanity" as the why her daughter wanted cosmetic surgery, the consultant did not bat an eyelid.
Susan Prestwood is well aware of the dangers of undergoing cosmetic surgery too young.
She underwent breast reduction surgery at 17 because one of her breasts was much larger than the other.
She said: "I definitely feel I should not have had it done. I was not mentally old enough, it took six months of my life away from me, and I have still grown, I have still got a size difference, maybe it is not as big, but it is still there."