Going under knife won't bring you success
But on my return to these shores, I was surprised to find the public
had embraced the phenomenon wholeheartedly and were glued in gruesome
fascination to UK versions such as 10 Years Younger.
Not only are people gripped by these on-screen transformations,
their existence has led to such a massive shift in public attitude that
cosmetic surgery is now an accepted part of day to day life. The UK
market is valued in excess of £250 million and last year the British
Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons said the number of surgical
procedures had risen by more than a third to 22,000 operations.
The majority of cosmetic surgery continues to be carried out on
women, with boob jobs top of the list at more than 5600 operations.
More surprising is the impact of the metrosexual male with an apparent
preoccupation about the size and shape of his nose. This has accounted
for a 55 per cent rise in operations. And if anyone thought Edinburgh
folk were more down to Earth, they'd be wrong.
Figures released by Bupa's Murrayfield Hospital show a 30 per cent
rise in the number of cosmetic surgery operations in the last year -
roughly in line with the national figures.
But probe a little further and you'll find Bupa cagey about saying
what that 30 per cent actually means in terms of numbers. Could it be
that the these figures are a closely guarded secret because they'd
rather not let their rivals know exactly how they are doing?
Our obsession with having a derriere like Kylie Minogue or Jennifer
Lopez has led to fierce competition between the commercial clinics that
are springing up across the UK.
And with so many companies setting up shop, established clinics
appear to be unwilling to expose the true extent of their own business
success for fear of leaving themselves vulnerable to entrepreneurial
Last year, the Transform Medical Group came under fire for
introducing a loyalty card at its Edinburgh clinic which it said was to
reward customers who were making repeated trips to see their favourite
surgeon. The scheme was understandably less than popular with the Royal
College of Surgeons in Edinburgh, which took the view that it would
encourage bargain-hunters to go for more procedures than they otherwise
might have done.
More frightening are the dubious deals which offer a complete body
makeover for summer or bargain basement surgery travel packages to
clinics abroad where clients have little idea of the surgeons'
qualifications or the standard of cleanliness.
Of course, when it all goes horribly wrong - usually because the
foreign package offers little in the way of aftercare - it is the
consultant surgeons in Edinburgh who have to put people back together.
Common sense dictates that bigger operations generate more complex
problems and here surgeons are seeing increasing numbers of people who
have developed life-threatening blood clots or contracted infections
caused by botched surgery.
Another common misconception is that cosmetic surgery will transform
the patient's life by inspiring success and giving them unlimited
You only need to speak to people who have been disfigured through
accident, illness or genetic condition to know how empty that claim is.
Many of these people would rather not have to go to hospital but
they have to endure painful reconstruction surgery time and time again
for the good of their health.
Changing Faces, the national support group for people who are
disfigured, advises its clients that confidence is the key to
overcoming low self-esteem and the difficulties imposed on them by
In reality, cosmetic surgery cannot be the key to a top job or a
loving relationship because confidence comes from within and success is
certainly achieved only through hard work.