Considering cosmetic surgery

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
February 24, 2011, 10:30 PM GMT+0

Well over a third of Brits (38%) say they would seriously think about having some form of cosmetic procedure, our poll on plastic surgery has found. However, it seems that this is very much a personal decision and not necessarily due to a desire to impress the opposite sex, as only a very small proportion admitted that the suggestion that they should undergo surgery had come from their partner.

  • Of those who would entertain the idea of plastic surgery, the most popular operation or treatment was teeth whitening (21%), followed by laser eye surgery (15%) and teeth straightening (9%)
  • 57% wouldn’t consider any form of cosmetic procedure
  • 2% said that their partner or spouse had suggested that they should have cosmetic surgery
  • Compared to 78% who said that their partner had never mentioned it

And of those who said they had seriously considered having cosmetic surgery, most would prefer to stay in the UK for the procedure despite the potentially lower prices they could secure abroad.

  • 69% of those who wanted a procedure said they would not go abroad for a cosmetic operation
  • 16% said they would be willing to consider it

A confidence boost – or life-threatening?

Seen by some as a legitimate way for individuals, including rising numbers of men, to increase their confidence, cosmetic surgery is arguably becoming more common, less stigmatised and more affordable. Recent reports of women and men turning to surgery following traumatic events in their lives, such as painful divorce, have portrayed surgery as a real possibility for those seeking a boost.

However, there is concern over the effects of common, and ‘cut price’ plastic surgery. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) called for a ban on special offers within the UK industry in January, claiming that such ‘deals’ put undue pressure on people to make potentially life-changing decisions without giving them the consideration they may otherwise have done.

There has also been much media coverage of the problems patients face when going abroad for cheap surgery, as standards are often accused of being lax compared to those in the UK, with little to no follow-up procedures if complications arise. The most recently high-profile case of foreign surgery going wrong was that of British-born model and dancer Claudia Aderotimi, who died after having illegal silicon buttock injections in the States.

See the survey details and full results

Related story: Would you have plastic surgery if you could afford it and you knew it was safe?