Only one in eight people considering cosmetic surgery consults their GP about the risks and benefits before going ahead, a survey suggests.
Which? says independent advice on cosmetic procedures is vital
Consumer group Which? questioned more than 300 people and warned that getting independent advice was vital.
The UK's cosmetic surgery industry is predicted to double in size between now and 2012 - more than 700,000 cosmetic procedures were carried out in 2006.
A cosmetic surgeons' group agreed it was important GPs played a bigger role.
While many cosmetic operations are minor in nature, carried out under local anaesthetic, some are classed as major operations, and carry a significant risk of complications or poor results.
Which? is campaigning for both an improvement in the information available to patients considering cosmetic surgery on these risks.
It also wants a mandatory "cooling-off period" following any decision to go ahead with an operation, and has set up a website to offer advice to would-be patients.
Spokesman Frances Blunden said: "It is quite shocking that people will trust adverts in magazines but won't consult their GP before they decide to have cosmetic treatments.
"It's not a decision to take lightly, particularly as, in some cases, people will undergo a major operation which obviously involves risks that should be talked through with their own, impartial doctor first."
The survey found many patients were more likely to take the advice of friends and family, or rely on internet or magazine articles, than consult a GP.
Many of those who stayed away from their GP surgery said that other people had told them it "wouldn't be helpful", or said they had had a bad experience with their GP previously.
The Department of Health also recommends that people considering cosmetic surgery procedures talk to their GP first, because they may be able to offer general advice about surgery, and any health problems which should be mentioned to the cosmetic surgeon prior to the operation.
Hamish Laing, the Honorary Secretary of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (Bapras), said he recognised that it was increasingly common for patients to choose to "self-refer" to a plastic surgeon.
He said: "We would always advise a patient to discuss matters with their GP first if possible.
"If they are unwilling or unable to do so, then the specialist should seek the patient's permission to write to the GP at the end of the first consultation to make the GP aware of it.
"The GP will be able to ensure that an appropriately trained and registered specialist is seen.
"In making the referral the GP will be able to tell the specialist of any medical or other contraindications that the patient might have to surgery."