Experts have warned that liposuction is not a cure for obesity following a 90 per cent rise in the number of people having the operation.
Figures from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), show that 3,986 liposuctions were carried out last year – up from 2,099 in 2005.
It has jumped from being the eighth most popular cosmetic procedure to the third most popular, behind breast and eyelid surgery.
Rajiv Grover, consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS Council member, said: ‘Judging by the dramatic rise in certain procedures, it is clear we are becoming a more body-image conscious society.
‘However, it is important to note that liposuction and tummy tucks are not a treatment for weight management or obesity: they are body contouring procedures for patients near or already at their ideal body weight.’
BAAPS, which is based at the Royal College of Surgeons, said other operations – such as breast surgery and nose jobs – had also seen a rise.
Anti-ageing procedures were also popular, with facelifts up 44 per cent on the previous year, eyelid surgery up 48 per cent, and brow lifts up 50 per cent.
Rajiv Grover added: ‘When considering cosmetic surgery it is essential to be selective in choosing the right surgeon as the results of good surgery may be long lasting but no procedure is without some risk.
‘When performed under the right circumstances, aesthetic surgery can have a very positive psychological impact and improve quality of life.’
The most popular surgery for men and women in 2006, according to BAAPS (number of operations and percentage rise since 2005 in brackets):
- Breast augmentation – 6,156 (up 9 per cent)
- Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) – 5,065 (up 48 per cent)
- Liposuction – 3,986 (up 90 per cent)
- Face/neck lift – 3,281 (up 44 per cent)
- Breast reduction – 3,219 (up 19 per cent)
- Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) – 2,743 (up 47 per cent)
- Rhinoplasty (nose) – 2,678 (up 18 per cent)
- Otoplasty (ear correction) – 943 (down 20 per cent)
- Brow lifts – 868 (up 50 per cent)