Cosmetic surgery booming in Britain, study finds

LONDON Sun Jun 15, 2008 10:14pm EDT

A doctor puts marks on a patient's abdomen before beginning an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) procedure at the Plastic Surgery Center in Shrewsbury, New Jersey October 22, 2007. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

A doctor puts marks on a patient's abdomen before beginning an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) procedure at the Plastic Surgery Center in Shrewsbury, New Jersey October 22, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britons might be feeling the pinch of the global credit crunch, but they're still ready to pay thousands of pounds for cosmetic surgery, a report suggested on Monday.

Britain's largest cosmetic surgery provider the Harley Medical Group said demand for procedures had grown by 35 percent over the past 10 months.

Abdomnoplasty or "tummy tuck" operations, a procedure costing nearly 5,000 pounds ($9,700), were up 59 percent, while breast augmentation surgery swelled 40 percent, it said.

Demand was high from the city of London to Leeds and Cheshire, a region popular with footballers and their wives.

The group said it carried out more than 300 tummy tuck operations in the last 10 months, compared with 160 operations in the previous 10-month period.

"It's interesting to see what people cut back on during a credit crunch," said Harley Medical Group's Liz Dale.

"Research among our patients has shown that despite cutting back across all other areas ... people aren't cutting back on money they spend on themselves.

"For many who are undertaking an abdomnoplasty this is something they've planned for years. For this reason, they're unlikely to want to now put this off and instead they consider their procedure to be an investment."

(Reporting by John Joseph; Editing by Luke Baker)

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