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British Asians Travel to India for Cosmetic Surgery

British Asians travel to India for cosmetic surgery

British patients travelling to India for quality medical treatment is no longer news, but now many British Asians are joining the procession for cheap cosmetic surgery in the Indian sub-continent.

Cosmetic surgery to improve the shape of nose (called rhinoplasty), reduce the waistline and for breast improvements is prohibitive in Britain but in much demand. More than 100,000 cosmetic operations are carried out every year in Britain.
Recent figures released by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons revealed that breast enlargement topped the list of cosmetic operations performed in 2005. Each breast enlargement operation costs about 4,000 pounds here.

Sources in the industry told IANS that very few of the cosmetic operations conducted in Britain involved Asians. The main reason for this was that many Asians preferred to get the operations done in India or Pakistan during their visits to their country of origin.

Most of the British Asians combining family visits to the Indian sub-continent with cosmetic surgery are said to be in their 20s. The desire for cosmetic surgery within the community is also fuelled by the increasing popularity of Indian film actresses and the increasing viewership of serials on Indian channels that are now widely available here.

Cosmetic operations in the Indian sub-continent are cheap compared to the costs in Britain. Some of the favourite operations are nose jobs, tummy tucks, liposuction and breast enlargements, the sources said. Unlike here, there is no waiting list for such operations in the Indian sub-continent.

They added that such operations are mainly sought by educated and prosperous British Asians, who feel the need and pressure to have Western-style physical features. A large majority of such Asians are women, born and raised in Britain and who hanker for Western dimensions of beauty.

While the Asians who visit India approach cosmetic surgeons in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, those who visit Pakistan go under the knife in Islamabad, Lahore or Karachi where almost all Pakistan's 70 registered plastic surgeons are said to be based.

British experts, however, are wary of people travelling to the Indian sub-continent for cosmetic surgery. David Sharpe, a professor of plastic surgery at Bradford University, said he was aware of the trend but warned against having plastic surgery abroad.

He told The Independent: "I would be confident about Pakistani surgeons who have been trained in the UK or have strong connections with training programmes here as being competent. "But if you are going abroad to have surgery, there is a danger. One in 10 cases of nose reshaping and one in five cases of liposuction require additional work for up to six months, such as an adjustment to the tip of a nose.

"The patients would need to go back to the surgeon and this work would normally be carried out for free, as it would be part of the package."