A NIP and tuck here, a bit bigger – or a lot smaller – there. For years, cosmetic surgery felt like something for rich Hollywood stars desperate to hold back Father Time and dazzle us with their looks.
However, new figures show cosmetic surgery is increasingly for the masses, even at a time when money is tight. And despite the costs and potential risks, more of us are opting to go under the knife in the hope of looking good.
New figures from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps) reveal the number of UK cosmetic ops last year soared by 17 per cent, to 50,122 procedures.
It’s a trend that hasn’t passed Edinburgh by – private hospital Spire Edinburgh at Murrayfield has experienced a 6.5 per cent rise in cosmetic procedures during 2013.
Despite a global scandal surrounding faulty breast implants, the number of “boob” jobs soared by 13 per cent across the UK, while the number of men seeking surgery to reduce “man boobs” increased by nearly a quarter to 800. One of the biggest swings has been towards liposuction – there was a 43 per cent increase in the number of women undergoing the procedure and a 19 per cent rise in the number of men.
However, the true number of people having cosmetic work will actually be much higher: around 63,000 UK citizens travel abroad each year for medical reasons, many seeking cheap cosmetic surgery.
According to Rajiv Grover, consultant plastic surgeon and president of the Baaps, demand partly indicates an upswing in people’s financial situation, and a move away from non-surgical procedures which failed to live up to their hype.
“The continued double-digit rise of cosmetic surgery underlines the fact that whether it is breast augmentation or anti-ageing procedures like facelifting, the public are choosing tried-and-tested surgical methods rather than magical-sounding quick fixes that fail to deliver promised results,” he says.
Eddie Manson isn’t the only person chuffed with his recent tummy tuck surgery. “My wife, Lorraine, quite likes it too,” he says with a wicked laugh.
Eddie, 53, training to be a bus driver, had the surgery in December to trim off excess skin left after he lost eight stones. Now he sports a “washboard” stomach and has swapped his 46-inch waist trousers for slimline 30-inch ones.
The results have been life changing. “After I lost weight I had all this excess skin at my stomach. I wanted to get rid of it so I could be the ‘finished article’.
“It was a big operation – you’re cut right across the middle. I needed five or six weeks to recover. But I’d recommend it to anyone.”
Eddie’s weight had soared to 19st 12lbs – he’s 5ft 6ins – which left him “looking like a beach ball”.
Eddie, of Gogarloch Haugh, South Gyle, lost some weight and finally met NHS criteria to have an £11,000 gastric sleeve operation. The op at Spire Edinburgh, shrunk his stomach, meaning he could eat only tiny portions of food. He lost eight stones but sagging skin around his stomach area meant he was still wearing clothes larger than he wanted.
He returned to the Murrayfield hospital last year to undergo further NHS funded surgery to remove the excess skin and leave his stomach flat.
“I feel like I’ve been given a second chance at life,” he says. “My mother died from a heart attack when she was 51. I felt like I was a walking heart attack and that I needed to change.
“Now I swim and play tennis and I eat healthy portions. Having cosmetic surgery has changed my life for the better.”
Yvonne Ferguson reckoned her “droopy” boobs, big thighs and saggy tummy meant she was doomed to spend summer holidays hiding on the beach under a sarong.
But last summer in Lanzarote she finally showed off a figure transformed after a tummy tuck, liposuction and a boob job.
“My weight was always up and down. When I had an accident and broke my foot I was off work for ten weeks and the weight piled on. I was really unhappy.”
She eventually lost three stones but was left with saggy skin and stubborn patches that wouldn’t shift at her thighs.
“I’d never had children, but my boobs just ‘hung’ there.”
Surgery in October cost £11,900, paid for after compensation for the accident finally came through plus a payment for mis-sold insurance policies.
Consultant plastic surgeon Awf Quaba carried out a tummy tuck, liposuction and a breast lift and implants to boost her boobs from what had been a saggy 36E at her heaviest, to 34F.
“I had 30 years of my life feeling bad about myself,” says Yvonne, 41, who now lives in Alloa. “It’s a form of suffering. I used to put on a face but I hated the way I looked. I wore a bikini in Lanzarote and felt so confident for the first time. It’s been amazing.”
For Georgina Duncan, the nightmare of schoolgirl taunts about her weight only compounded her negative feelings about her figure.
She already hated her “out of proportion” small breasts, but comments about her weight left her gripped by anorexia, leaving her a frail size four.
Eventually her weight stabilised but Georgina, 22, of West Lothian, was still unhappy: “I wanted my breasts enlarged and always said if I could, I’d get it done.”
When compensation for an accident came through, Georgina arranged to undergo the £4500 procedure at Spire Edinburgh last October, boosting her 34A bust to 34DD. “It’s been amazing,” she adds. “This was for my self-confidence and self-esteem. I didn’t want to be a model or to show them off and I didn’t want to look fake. But I felt that I was half a woman the way I was.
“Cosmetic surgery isn’t about just wanting to look better, it affects your whole confidence and how you feel about yourself.”
Boob jobs top ‘to-do’ list
THE top cosmetic surgery procedure among women across the UK is breast augmentation, which saw a 13 per cent rise last year despite global concern over PIP implants. Liposuction is the sixth most popular procedure among females.
Men and women both opted for anti-ageing procedures: eyelid surgery increased by 14 per cent, face and neck lifts up by 13 per cent, fat transfer (where fat is injected into the face to add volume) by 15 per cent and eyebrow lifts accounting for a 17 per cent rise.
Male surgery rose by 16 per cent, with body contouring procedures, such as a tummy tuck, recording the biggest increase, with liposuction up by 28 per cent and work to reduce “man boobs” – gynaecomastia – up by 24 per cent.
At Spire Edinburgh, breast surgery – either to augment, lift or reduce – accounts for 51 per cent of all cosmetic surgery carried out at the Murrayfield hospital. Rhinoplasty, the “nose job”, is performed on 21 per cent of cosmetic surgery patients, followed by 18 per cent who have abdominal work.
Elsewhere, more unusual cosmetic surgery is appearing: from buttock enhancement to dimple creation surgery to create a Cheryl Cole smile.