Plastic money takes on a new meaning

ONE OF the main reasons for taking out a bank loan is to pay for cosmetic surgery, according to a survey by National Westminster Bank.

Estimates suggest that by 2002 the British public will be spending more than pounds 200m a year on operations such as breast enlargements, nose jobs and liposuction.

Last year 65,000 cosmetic operations were performed. Once the domain of women, the increasing social acceptability of cosmetic surgery means more men are going under the knife. Cosmetic surgery clinics have also reported the average age of women seeking surgery is falling, and that an increasing number of teenagers who have just left school are seeking breast and nose jobs.

"Many people think that a personal loan can only be used for a new car, holiday or to improve the kitchen," said Neil Harrison, head of personal product marketing for NatWest. "Our research has shown that a loan can be used for almost anything, from a nose job to an exotic pet, as long as it's legal. It seems what ordinary people want to spend their money on and even get into debt for is cosmetic surgery."

The quest for beauty can cost thousands - a facelift alone costs on average pounds 4,599.

Michael Barratt, of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said: "As a nation we are more concerned than ever with how we look and there is a growing trend to achieve better bodies. Spending money on cosmetic surgery is fine as long as it doesn't go too far. We don't want to become a nation of hypochondriacs and narcissists."

The Price Of

Perfection

Operation Cost

Breast augment pounds 3,500

Breast reduction pounds 3,500

Nose reshaping pounds 3,000

Collagen injection pounds 250

Forehead lift pounds 3,000

Facelift pounds 4,599

Ear reshaping pounds 1,500

Chin augmentation pounds 2,000

Pectoral implants pounds 4,200

Liposuction pounds 2,000

Calf implants pounds 3,900

Tummy tuck pounds 3,000

Buttock lift pounds 3,000

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