The scalpel is facing the chop. Sweeping advances in cosmetic medicine mean surgery is being phased out, supplanted by revolutionary new treatments requiring a simple injection.
A big rise in injectable treatments is being reported in cosmetic clinics around the country. And with a clutch of new procedures on the way, invasive plastic surgery could soon be a rarity. Patients who may have opted for a facelift or nose-job before are now discovering a series of injections can produce similar results by relaxing or stimulating muscle tissue.
The early Botox-type treatments had transformed the way people view cosmetic surgery. Within months, Botox will be being used to give breasts a lift.
Clinics are struggling to keep up with demand as a swath of new injectable wrinkle-fillers and muscle-freezers are flooding the market, with more than 50 brands introduced in the past year.
The market-leading jab, the filler Restylane, is about to announce a 20-fold increase in British sales, from 10,000 treatments in 2003 to more than 200,000 in 2005.
The British Association of Plastic Surgeons says there has been a massive increase in the number of Britons choosing the needle over the knife for anti-ageing treatments which smooth necks, crow's feet around the eyes and wrinkly foreheads.
A spokesman said yesterday: "A lot of people want to keep the years at bay and but don't want the dangers associated with traditional surgery. It's amazing, because three years ago women had hardly even heard of fillers and injectables."
Figures from the US show demand for anti-ageing jabs has soared by an incredible 927 per cent in one year. British surgeons are adopting controversial American treatments including cellulite smoothing, ear plumping and even filler injections to cushion feet damaged by high heels.
And crossing the Atlantic soon is the Botox breast lift, which relaxes the downward pull of muscles that lead to sagging.
One women, Tavy Mogridge, a 29-year-old company director, who lives in west London, spent two lunch-times at the Collagenics clinic in Convent Garden for a Restylane injection to enhance her lips.
She also had traditional Botox treatment in her forehead. " I'd had wrinkles for ages and by the time I got to 28, I decided I'd had enough of it," she said. "I didn't want surgery, because there is always that element of danger. With injections it was all over in 10 minutes. I went home and my dad said, 'Ooh, you look really fresh, like you've had a bloody long holiday.' It was only afterwards I told him what I'd done."
The British Association of Cosmetic Doctors believes 40,000 phials of Botox were sold in the UK in 2004, in a cosmetic surgery industry worth £275m a year.
But Jag Chana, consultant plastic surgeon at Sanctuary Cosmetic Surgeons in London, warned: "Many of these injectables are serious prescription drugs. Botox is not without risks. These drugs need to be administered by qualified plastic surgeons."Reuse content