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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 January 2007, 10:19 GMT
Cosmetic surgery draw condemned
Silicone implant
Experts are unhappy at the trivialisation of cosmetic surgery
Plastic surgeons have criticised a company for running the world's first cosmetic surgery "superdraw".

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) accused Europa International of "plumbing new depths".

It said the company was using marketing gimmicks to attract customers to surgery abroad.

But John Babbage, co-founder of the Prague-based company, said there was no difference between somebody winning surgery, and paying for it.

The offer of a cosmetic surgery procedure as a prize is an awful manifestation of the trivialisation of medical care in general, and aesthetic surgery in particular
Adam Searle
Cosmetic surgeon

People are encouraged to enter the company's draw via text or phone through a section on their website entitled "win your surgery for just 1.50".

The monthly draw gives people in the UK the chance of winning 6,000 towards cosmetic surgery.

No common sense

Douglas McGeorge, consultant plastic surgeon and president of BAAPS, described the scheme as a marketing gimmick.

He said: "I am appalled at this new scheme but unfortunately not surprised.

"Companies are plumbing new depths to take advantage of a growing interest in plastic surgery."

Mr McGeorge was concerned that the promotion violated the BAAPS code of ethics, which prohibits the use of financial incentives.

He said he thought it was wrong to encourage people to apply for plastic surgery before their medical history had been taken or evaluated.

He was also concerned that the winner did not meet with the surgeon prior to being flown out for surgery.

Adam Searle, former BAAPS president, added: "The offer of a cosmetic surgery procedure as a prize is an awful manifestation of the trivialisation of medical care in general, and aesthetic surgery in particular.

"Any patient making irreversible decisions in circumstances of hype, excitement and emotion, are putting themselves at very great risk."

Patrick Mallucci, another BAAPS member, said it was important to take time to get to know a patient, and understand their motivations before deciding to press ahead with surgery.

Defence

Mr Babbage defended the draw.

He said: "The winner of this competition does have to pass a medical first. It's exactly the same process as if the client was paying.

"They have to fill in a medical questionnaire form and if, for any reason, it is deemed they are unsuitable, then obviously we would refund any payment they have made.

"That is in our terms and conditions. It would be a waste of our time just to take anybody on board and it would lead to disappointment.

"I don't see what the difference is if somebody wins surgery in this competition or pays for it themselves."

Mr Babbage said he had been trading for 11 years and it was "arrogant" for people to think cosmetic surgery abroad was less safe than in the UK.

Other companies have previously been "named and shamed" by BAAPS for running similar schemes.

These include loyalty cards, competitions in magazines and reality TV cosmetic shows.


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