Plastic surgeons are banking on the new wave of gentler and less intrusive procedures to woo those who have previously been put off by fears over long-term scars and length of recovery time.
The new procedures will be highlighted at Britain's largest cosmetic surgery event, the Body Beautiful Show in London's Olympia today. New forms of liposuction, such as liposelection, will also be featured. The new breast surgery, known as "auto augmentation", uses a patient's own tissue to fill the breast instead of an implant. Tissue is taken from the lower part of the breast and inserted higher up. It was developed by Dr Laurence Kirwan last year. "It restores the loss of fullness in the upper breast and reduces the scarring," the British surgeon said. "The patient will not have to come back for another surgery in a few years' time and they do not have to worry about an implant. The breast becomes perkier, fuller and firmer."
Dr Kirwan has also developed an "executive facelift". "Traditionally there is a very disfiguring scar going back behind the hairline. This stops just behind the ear," Dr Kirwan said. A patient can return to work after 10 days, rather than the month they would need following a standard facelift.
Dr Roberto Viel from Italy, who has brought liposelection to Britain, said that new technology enables the surgeon to pinpoint fat cells more precisely. Ultrasound waves are used to melt individual fat cells, allowing the fat to be sucked out without damaging nearby tissue. "The result will be better aesthetically and there will also be a quicker recovery time for the patient," he said. "With traditional liposculpture you need five to six weeks before you are ready for the beach. With liposelection it can be only a couple of weeks."
More than 5,000 people are expected to attend the Body Beautiful Show this weekend. The event has come under fire from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons for offering vouchers and prizes for treatment. Adam Searle, president of the association and a consultant plastic surgeon at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, said: "I would be very nervous if anyone was pressured or enticed into having treatments without fully understanding the procedure."
But Mark Brewster, the event director, insisted that every clinic or company at the show had been vetted and approved. "People should never be rushed or coerced into a life-changing decision," he said. "The market has developed at a frightening rate. There are so many new treatments available now. An event like this helps people to understand what is on offer."
The private health insurer Bupa was criticised by the association for appointing sales reps paid on commission, while Transform Medical Group - the largest provider of plastic surgery in Britain - was attacked for offering patients loyalty cards.
'I went shopping threedays after my facelift'
Frances Baker, 59, who lives in Norfolk, had an "executive facelift" at Dr Laurence Kirwan's clinic in New York.
I was looking old - everything goes down. I had it for my birthday - it was my present to me.
But I did not want a long, drawn-out procedure with a long recuperation period. It was fantastic. I was able to go out after three days and do some shopping. I only had one small bruise on my chin that could easily be covered up with make up - you could hardly see it.
It is not such a traumatic procedure - it is more gentle. My face was not swollen and there were no staples to have taken out. It was all dissolvable stitches.
It makes one look a bit fresher. It does not completely change the way I look. It is very soft and very natural.