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Last Updated: Monday, 24 January, 2005, 01:21 GMT
Cosmetic surgery popularity surge
Breast augmentation is popular
There has been a big increase in the number of people undergoing cosmetic plastic surgery.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons recorded 16,367 cosmetic procedures in 2004 - up from a total of 10,738 in 2003.

The vast majority (92%) were carried out on women - but cosmetic surgery is also growing in popularity among men.

For women, the top procedure was breast augmentation, while for men it was rhinoplasty - surgery on the nose.

Breast augmentation: 3,731 procedures
Breast reduction/mastopexy: 2,417
Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery): 1,993
Face/neck lift: 1,511
Abdominoplasty: 1,465
On average, BAAPS members carried out an average of 137 procedures each during 2004, compared to an average of 112 in the previous year.

Adam Searle, a consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS president, said: "These figures reflect the growing popularity of cosmetic surgery.

"People today want to look as good as they feel, and are willing to invest in improving their quality of life."

Technological advances

Douglas McGeorge, a consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS president-elect, said advances in technology had contributed to the growing popularity of plastic surgery.

Rhinoplasty: 362 procedures
Otoplasty (pinning back prominent ears): 295
Blepharoplasty: 280
Liposuction: 130
Face/neck lift: 93
He also said that the concept of using cosmetic surgery to enhance looks was becoming increasingly accepted in society.

However, he stressed that nobody should undergo cosmetic surgery without first seeking proper medical advice.

He said it was encouraging that more people seemed to be consulting a trained specialist before opting for surgery.

"These days people are retiring to start a new life, not retiring to die," he told the BBC News website.

"People are feeling young, and perhaps more people are opting to look young as well."

BAAPS issued new guidelines last year warning people contemplating cosmetic surgery to take their time and go to reputable and approved surgeons.

It warned that unless people did their home work properly, cosmetic surgery aimed at making them look more beautiful could end up leaving them scarred and deformed.

Ros Taylor, a chartered psychologist practising in London, said television tended to portray cosmetic surgery as a simple straightforward procedure, and gloss over the fact that it can be associated with side effects.

In addition, growing affluence meant that more people than ever before could afford to go under the knife.

"The growing popularity of cosmetic surgery probably means that we are deeply superficial," she told the BBC News website.

"It may be great for some, but not for all, and it is very difficult to know who will benefit.

"Nowadays, cosmetic surgery is easily accessible, but it may not change your life, and it could be that people who are considering it need to look at other confidence issues first."


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