Susie Rushton: Beauty queen

Saturday 16 February 2008 01:00 GMT

February, according to the cosmetic surgery guru Wendy Lewis, is the best month for a spot of Botox or even a thigh-lift, since it's "a great time to hide away after surgery." Lewis, an independent "knife coach" who resides in New York City and advises nervous clients on both sides of the Atlantic on how to get their liposuction just so, suggests that during this month ladies should without ado "pick a long weekend and get the lot done", particularly if, "you are short of a beau".

You may laugh, but the number of cosmetic operations and treatments performed in Britain has risen by 92 per cent in just two years, and according to market analysts Mintel is set to break the £1bn barrier in 2008.

Well, I've got another suggestion for those who are tempted to wipe the years away before the spring social whirl arrives: spend a few minutes this month reading Lewis's book, Plastic Makes Perfect, which has plenty of tips in addition to that handy plastic surgery calendar (leave the eyelid surgery till the post-holiday weeks in September, girls).

Despite its friendly pink cover and 1950s-style illustrations, the book is both a practical guide and a horrifying catalogue of weird and pointless treatments. Did you know that Botox can be used for slimming bulky calves, by paralysing muscles? That the much-hyped Restylane wrinkle-filler can give you acne? Today's "non-invasive" treatments are marketed as no more serious than a lunch-hour pedicure, but they still carry risk, and although Lewis is essentially pro-surgery, she does describe its grimmer aspects. After certain operations, she counsels that you have on hand at home both a thermometer (since fevers indicate infection) and a bed pan – which should certainly keep those bothersome beaux away.

'Plastic Makes Perfect' by Wendy Lewis is published by Orion books

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