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New you for Valentine’s Day? What are the dangers of cosmetic surgery?

A recent survey commissioned by Hudgell Solicitors has brought to light some alarming public attitudes towards cosmetic surgery and the risks people are prepared to take in their quest for perfection. Participants were asked a number of questions around cosmetic surgery, and whilst 78% said they were comfortable with their bodies as they are, half of those people would still consider cosmetic surgery to change the way they look and keep their Valentine happy.

Young adults (between 18 and 34), were the most care-free, with happy to undergo cosmetic procedures to boost their attractiveness is highest, with over a third saying they wouldn’t be bothered about the risks involved.

The strange new Valentine’s trend

The study also revealed some surprising attitudes held by couples, with 41% admitting they would undergo a cosmetic procedure to keep their partner happy, and some even stating that they would do “whatever it takes” to keep their partner interested.

Couples in the study were asked how they would feel if their other half surprised them with vouchers for cosmetic surgery as a Valentine’s Day gift – and unsurprisingly over half of them said they would be upset and confused.

However, some participants welcomed the idea. It could be said that these couples had discussed a desire for surgery beforehand, but it would be viewed as an odd choice of gift by many who consider surgery too dangerous.

When comparing men and women, there was a clear difference in attitude when it came to cosmetic surgery.

Interestingly, men came out as more willing to undergo cosmetic procedures, with almost a third stating that they would be comfortable with changing their appearance to keep their partner happy.

Assessing the risks

The number of people willing to undergo surgical procedures in spite of the risks involved were relatively high, and men came out as more likely to go ahead with cosmetic work knowing the risks involved.

Out of the sample surveyed we found that 27% of men would go ahead with cosmetic surgery despite the risks, whereas only 22% of women would do the same.

Many feel the high coverage given to cosmetic surgery mistakes and incidents suffered by women has left them with the impression that all cosmetic procedures are high risk. Compare this with lack of news and information around procedures involving men and it’s perhaps clear to see why they find the idea of cosmetic surgery less worrying.

Most recently, 47,000 women in Britain were involved in the PIP scandal, a breast implant scare due to the discovery that an overseas producer had used industrial grade silicone in their implants, a material which had not been tested for human use and doubled the chance of implant rupture after insertion.

With rumours of high cancer risk and deformed implants running wild in the media, the scandal made headlines around the world and the UK in particular saw a 23% decrease in breast augmentations in 2014.

Given the PIP scandal, it comes as no surprise that women are now more cautious over similar treatments and less likely to undergo cosmetic surgery.

In total, 50% of women said they would not consider cosmetic surgery at all as they felt that the risks were too high to justify the treatment.

Changing attitudes

As the ‘botched plastic surgery’ headlines fade from memory and celebrities ever-increasingly display their subtle image alterations, it seems that a generational divide is clear when it comes to cosmetic procedures.

Minor procedures may be considered ‘normal’ by younger generations and statistics back this up; almost a third of those aged 18-34 said they would be happy if their partner bought them cosmetic surgery vouchers as a gift, and over half of those surveyed in the same age group would consider undergoing a cosmetic procedure purely to keep their partner happy with their appearance.

This is in stark contrast to older participants in the study, with nearly 70% agreeing that they would never consider any form of surgery due to the perceived risks. Considering that this age group were also the most happy and comfortable with their bodies and appearance, it’s clear that there is a significant difference in the way that generations perceive their own attractiveness.

As it stands, cosmetic surgeons do not necessarily have to have specialist experience in the surgeries and procedures they perform. Proposals have been put forward by the Royal College of Surgeons to introduce mandatory systems under which different cosmetic procedures would only be carried out by surgeons certified in that specific area. Patients will also have access to success rates and the knowledge that their surgery is being carried out by a specialist with proper experience in their field.

Improving the image of cosmetic surgery and minimising the risks will benefit everyone involved, a positive step which we at Hudgell Solicitors are happy to support.

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