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  Inside Out East Midlands: Monday February 9, 2004

FACELIFT HOLIDAYS

Cosmetic surgeon
Sand, sea and surgery - for a new look

Inside Out takes a look at the world of cosmetic surgery and the cut-price 'facelift holidays' offering hope to those wanting to change their looks.

Plastic Surgery has often been thought of as the preserve of the rich and famous, who are prepared to pay through the nose for, well, often a new nose.

Now more and more people from all walks of life are turning to "facelift holidays" to increase their body beauty.

Nose
Too big? Too small?

Plastic surgery has always had a mixed press, variously admired for shamelessly defying the process of ageing, and despised for pandering to vanity and ego.

For those that see surgery as the answer to their concerns over their body-image, a new option is becoming available that cuts the cost of going under the knife.

Facelift holidays are becoming the ticket to cheaper cosmetic surgery.

Countries with lower cost healthcare are attracting a new type of tourist - one that wants to go home with more than just happy memories of a relaxing time in the sun.

High costs

Scalpel
Roughly 65,000 cosmetic surgery operations were carried out last year in the UK

Last year in the UK, roughly 65,000 cosmetic surgery operations were carried out.

The most popular request, bigger breasts through implants, is closely followed by fat reduction through liposuction.

Such surgery is expensive with breast implants running at £3,000 to £4,000 (fully fitted of course).

But the appeal of cosmetic surgery means that some people are prepared to go for the cheaper option, if they can't afford those prices.

Jetting off

ALTERNATIVES TO THE KNIFE

Botox Injections

What is it?
Botox is made from 'botulinum toxin', a poison produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.

How does it work?
When injected into muscle tissue in small quantities, Botox interrupts nerve impulses to the muscle causing it to relax. This relaxes the skin above the muscles reducing wrinkling.

Chemical Peels

What is it?
Chemical peels remove the top layer of skin to stimulate new skin growth.

How does it work?
A chemical solution is applied to the skin. It then blisters off over a period of up to 14 days. The new skin underneath heals to form a top layer, which is smoother and brighter than before.

Microdermabrasion

What is it?
This is where the top layers of skin are removed by abrasion, meaning they are literally sanded off.

How does it work?
A spray of sterile micro-particles such as fine aluminium oxide, diamond or salt crystals is applied to the skin. The particles and the dead skin are then literally vacuumed out.

Laser resurfacing

What is it?
The top layers of skin are vaporised by lasers.

How does it work?
Low energy lasers can burn off the top layers of skin to a very precise depth to stimulate skin re-growth.

More information about cosmetic surgery and the danger and pitfalls of these methods can be found on the BBC Science site

Eastern Europe is fast becoming that cheaper option, with companies now offering "facelift holidays".

Cosmetic surgery abroad can work out half the price of similar surgery in this country.

Prior to a facelift holiday, you visit a UK consultant who arranges your surgery, flight and "holiday accommodation".

In addition to reducing the cost, these holidays also appeal because they offer privacy. With plastic surgery still carrying a degree of stigma the thought of "having it done on the quiet" can be reassuring to some.

Dangers

However, cheap is not always best. UK surgeons often warn of the dangers of such cut-price surgery.

They say there are not the same health care regulations in place, and in some cases, patients don't even get to meet their surgeon before the operation.

Wendy Lewis, an American plastic surgeon says, "Why would you go to a country where you can't check out the credentials of the surgeon or even speak the language?

"If you want your surgery to be successful, why use a cheap surgeon?"

And as one UK plastic surgeon notes, "Cosmetic surgery needs excellent aftercare. How can you get good aftercare when your surgeon is thousands of miles away?"

Risk assessment

Many of these vacations are advertised in women's health magazines. Before embarking on any plastic surgery you are advised to visit your doctor who can inform you of the risks of surgery.

Your doctor can also advise if your expectations of surgery are likely to be met - going on a facelift holiday isn't necessarily a passport to a better life.

See also ...

Inside Out: East Midlands
More great stories

On bbc.co.uk
BBC News Online: The Stigma of Plastic Surgery
BBC News Online: Surgical holidays 'spoiling lives'
BBC Health: Cosmetic surgery
BBC Science: Extreme Cosmetics
BBC One Life: Cosmetic Surgery

On the rest of the web
British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons
British Association Of Plastic Surgeons

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

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