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Sunday, 20 August, 2000, 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
'Beach envy' fuels plastic surgery rush
A model on a beach
You too can have a body like this...
Millions of pounds are being spent on cosmetic surgery by Scots who have experienced "beach envy" while on their summer holidays.

The desire to have the "body beautiful" is encouraging Scots of all incomes to go under the surgeon's knife, according to the country's private hospitals.

People are telling their surgeons they want to look more like the slim, toned and bronzed beauties they have seen on the beaches and around hotel swimming pools while on holiday.

At Glasgow's private Nuffield Hospital, patients are spending more than 1m annually on body contouring surgery - and the figure is said to be rising.

Silicone implant
Health fears are not putting people off
Spokeswoman Moira Milne said staff saw 25% more clients in the weeks after they returned from holiday than at any other time of year.

Mrs Milne said: "From talking to the patients, we know that many of them come back from their holidays suffering from a kind of beach envy.

"Many of them will start saving for the surgery as soon as they come back, then schedule their operation for a month later."

Figures released by the hospital show the most popular post-holiday operations involved body contouring such as breast enlargements, followed by tummy tucks, liposuction and the removal of thread veins in the legs.

More than 660 patients will receive cosmetic surgery procedures at the hospital this year.

A disproportionate number of these will book appointments for the months of September and October, after returning from holiday.

On average, patients spend 2,600 per operation, most of which are not available under the National Health Service.

A woman sunbathing
Scenes like this are spurring Scots into action
Some even spend more than 10,000 on a combination of cosmetic procedures.

For the first time, men make up 10% of those receiving treatment - most enhancing their bodies with muscle implants in their arms and legs.

Consultant plastic surgeon David Soutar, of Canniesburn Plastic Surgery Unit in Glasgow - the largest in Scotland, said Scots were happy to fork out to try to obtain the slim, muscular figures they had witnessed.

Mr Soutar, 52, who has practised plastic surgery for 19 years, said: "Beach envy is a growing phenomenon. It is not confined to the wealthy.

"Factory workers, secretaries and nurses, as well as the well-off, are coming in growing numbers.

"A tummy tuck or a breast reduction can keep a person off work for three to four weeks, so they combine, for example, breast augmentation with nose or eye treatment to cut down on costs and recovery time."

Mr Soutar, who is also an honorary senior lecturer at Glasgow University, said patients were so desperate for surgery that many were willing to forsake the next year's holiday to pay for treatment.

Some even chose to pay off their surgery bills over a period of up to five years.

A surgeon
Surgeons are operating on more men than ever
He added: "In warmer climates, like in Italy and Australia, people spend more time looking after themselves, and when Scots go on holiday it suddenly dawns on them.

"In our climate we tend not to have the opportunity to show off our bodies all year round, so we are less body conscious until we go abroad in the summer."

Gair Stott, general manager of the BUPA Murrayfield Hospital in Edinburgh, said: "There is a national trend that plastic surgery numbers are increasing."

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27 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Lookalikes under the knife
01 May 00 | Health
Plastic surgery boom
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