The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, which represents 170 leading cosmetic surgeons, condemns the practice of offering "boob jobs" and similar procedures as inducements to customers.
The men's magazine Zoo offered readers the chance to win a boob job for their girlfriends worth £4,000 in return for a picture of their partner's inferior breasts and the name of the celebrity pair they would like substituted. It urged readers to "bag a new set of rib lamps" for their "lady".
Twelve people complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, which has launched an investigation. Some complainants accused the magazine of irresponsibility because the ad "could coerce women to have a serious and unnecessary surgical procedure that could cause physical and psychological damage," a spokesman said. Others said it objectified women.
The health and beauty magazine Top Sante, relaunched last month with a section devoted to plastic surgery, became the first women's title to offer "an extreme makeover" as a prize in a competition. The winner will have her operation done by Transform, a private cosmetic surgery company. The magazine published a survey suggesting that 95 per cent of women felt unhappy with their bodies.
The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons said offering plastic surgery as a prize violated "a well-recognised code of ethics of good medical practice". Adam Searle, president of the association, said: "The giving of a surgical procedure as a prize is an unbelievable, dangerous and highly unethical practice. The decision to perform any surgical procedure must be based on common sense, case selection, good surgical decision-making and patient safety.The offer of a cosmetic surgery procedure as a prize is an awful manifestation of the trivialisation of medical care in general, and aesthetic surgery in particular."
A spokesman for Emap, publisher of Zoo, said: "Having a boob job is a lifestyle choice made by thousands of women each year. Winning one is a properly coveted prize."
Lauren Libbert, editor of Top Sante, said: "We are not sensationalising plastic surgery. We have one procedure with carefully screened individuals. Transform use extremely reputable surgeons."