Cosmetic surgery

Major advances in technology and knowledge are making it simpler and safer to achieve changes to the way we want to look

Once the preserve of movie stars and millionaires, today people from all walks of life are considering cosmetic surgery – and for a variety of reasons. For some, it’s to boost self-confidence and put a spring in their step, while for others it can correct something that has come to affect and even dominate their lives. Medical experience and knowledge of cosmetic surgery grows at a rapid pace, and this together with advances in surgical technology and anaesthetics, means that some procedures can be achieved very simply – even in as little as an hour.

Here are the five cosmetic procedures that have shown significant increases in demand in the past year according to BMI Healthcare which runs the Priory Hospital, Edgbaston:

1. BREAST REDUCTION Many women with overly large breasts, serious physical problems such as back and neck pain and bad posture can be overcome by a reduction. The procedure involves making incisions around the nipple and vertically from the nipple to the breast crease to remove excess skin and tissue. The operation will be performed under a general anaesthetic. After surgery, you’ll most likely need to stay in hospital for one or two nights.

 As we get older, the neck can be a bit of a give-away – it can betray our age long before our face does. The demand for a neck lift – often combined with a face lift – has seen a very significant increase. The focus is on reducing the loose look of sagging skin around the neck and under the jaw line. The procedure takes about two to three hours and requires a general anaesthetic and an overnight stay in hospital.

 The eyes don’t lie when it comes to your age but eyelid surgery can give you a fresher, more youthful look. Performed on either the upper or lower eyelids, or both, the procedure involves making a small incision in the natural folds of the eyelid and can be performed under local anaesthetic or general anaesthetic.

 There are two common reasons for what are known as ‘man boobs’. One is overdeveloped breast tissue that can be a result of being overweight or having lost weight. The other is the growth of underlying breast tissue; this is common in boys going through puberty, but will often disappear by the age of 18. Your consultant will first establish the reasons for the condition before proceeding with surgery. Sometimes, excess fat on the chest is best treated by losing weight.

5. ABDOMINOPLASTY: TUMMY TUCK Life events such as pregnancy or losing a lot of weight, or simply the march of time, can all leave their mark on your stomach with unattractive folds of skin. A tummy tuck is designed to give back a youthful flat stomach by tightening those abdominal muscles. There’s a bonus as well in that any stretch marks or scars are removed as part of the process. You’ll need a couple of weeks off work to recover but around three weeks after the procedure you’ll be able to see the full benefits of your flatter, more youthful stomach.

UNDERSTANDING WHAT’S INVOLVED: BMI Healthcare helps thousands of people each year with a range of cosmetic surgical treatments. Each is the conclusion of an unhurried process of first talking with a consultant, understanding what can and cannot be achieved, and any risks involved. More details at