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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 September 2005, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
'Trivial' plastic op offers blast
Silicone implant
Surgeons say cosmetic surgery deserves serious consideration
Leading plastic surgeons are "naming and shaming" organisations which they say trivialise cosmetic operations.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons is attacking clinics, magazines and health organisations which "belittle" procedures.

Loyalty cards, money-off schemes and reality TV cosmetic shows all come under fire from BAAPS.

But one of the organisations criticised said it was simply providing cosmetic surgery at prices people could afford.

The true tragedy is that within this epidemic of rather tasteless activity there are going to be patients who experience significant complications and lifelong damage
Adam Searle, BAAPS president

Among those named by BAAPS at its annual conference in London this week are the Transform Medical Group, criticised for offering a loyalty card scheme that encourages multiple procedures and gift vouchers for surgery.

BAAPS also attacks organisations, such as Bupa, which is said to be appointing sales reps who are paid on commission to promote plastic surgery, and who may be being briefed to target young women

'Tasteless activity'

Adam Searle, President of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons said: "This trivialisation and commoditisation of medical procedures is appalling.

One of the things we are very proud of is that we have been at the forefront of bringing the benefits of high quality surgery to the public at prices they can afford
Transform Medical Group statement

"It seems to have come down to the level of loyalty cards, money-off vouchers, competition prizes and even a raffle prize of a procedure of your choice.

"This belittling of the seriousness of undertaking a medical procedure degrades not only our specialty but also the medical profession as a whole."

He added: "The true tragedy is that within this epidemic of rather tasteless activity there are going to be patients who experience significant complications and lifelong damage from pursuing ill-planned and ill-thought out operations.

"Sensible and educated decision making about cosmetic surgery is in danger of being lost."

A spokesperson for Transform said: "One of the things we are very proud of is that we have been at the forefront of bringing the benefits of high quality surgery to the public at prices they can afford.

"A large part of this has been created by the ability to advertise this to the public and consequently inform them.

"We believe that without this we would go back to the day when cosmetic surgery was the preserve of a wealthy elite served by a section interest group devoid of competition. This would be a backward step."

'Coveted prize'

A spokesman for Bupa said it was a responsible cosmetic surgery provided.

It added: "We strongly refute that we would ever attach sales incentives to any medical procedure.

"We believe that people should have as much information as possible before undertaking any form of treatment."

It added there was a system to reward telephone advisors, but this was designed to ensure people who respond to advertising were fully informed before making any decision on major surgery.

Advisors are rewarded for the number of people who decide to discuss their needs with a medical professional."

A spokeswoman for the Healthcare Commission said: "There is an expectation, in the national minimum standards, that independent healthcare providers registered with the Healthcare Commission should not mislead the public through advertisements about their establishment and the treatments they provide."

The BAAPS also recently hit out at magazines which offer cosmetic surgery or makeovers as prizes, and reality TV makeover shows.

At its conference, it will also discuss issues including injectable face treatments, non-invasive alternatives for liposuction, hand ageing and factors influencing a patient's choice of surgeon.




SEE ALSO:
Plastic surgery 'saved my life'
16 Mar 05 |  Health


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