Cosmetic surgery going mainstream

Cosmetic surgery is big business and it can cost big money. Yet it is becoming increasingly mainstream and is no longer the sole preserve of the rich and famous. That said, the celebrity world is still as keen as ever on it.

Trudie Styler, wife of pop star Sting, recently revealed that she has had some work done and British glamour girl Jordan – real name Katie Price – has announced that she will be going under the knife for a fourth time. She has a cosmetic surgery operation scheduled for later this year, when she will undergo breast augmentation once again.

Jordan going back to her roots

The model and mother of three told Reveal magazine this week that she feels her breasts have suffered after having children and she wants to restore them to all their former glory. Although she has now diversified – with books and a fitness DVD among her many business ventures – she started out as a Page 3 girl for the Sun, so it is understandable that her appearance should be a key concern of hers.

A hot new body for everybody

However, while Jordan’s reasons for having more cosmetic surgery may be a mix of personal and professional, for many people in more average walks of life it is becoming something that they choose for reasons that are often purely aesthetic.

Many of these are understandably concerned about the potential expense of such a procedure and so are looking at more cost-effective methods of getting the treatment they want.

Fun in the sun and a brand new tum

A popular method is to go abroad for their procedures, which has led to Britons spending more than £161 million a year on medical tourism. In 2006 alone, more than 50,000 British adults went abroad for treatment, of whom many were going for cosmetic surgery, a survey by specialist website Treatment Abroad found.

The number of UK residents "combining a few weeks in the sun with surgery for popular procedures such as breast augmentation, liposuction, tummy-tucks and teeth whitening" is "growing rapidly", according to a spokesman.

One patient told the website that she had gone to eastern Europe and paid £2,500 to have loose skin removed from her arms and stomach. Even including the cost of accommodation and flights, she paid less overall than if she had had the operation done in Britain.

"In Budapest, I was able to have the surgery and stay on for a short holiday – for less money," she commented.

Saving for a sunny day (in that new bikini)

Of course, even though it is cheaper to go abroad, the money still has to come from somewhere and it seems savings are a popular way of facilitating operations. A recent Abbey survey found that more than 200,000 Britons are currently either saving money towards an operation or considering using their existing savings to pay for one.

In a positive picture of savings overall, the survey found that around 14 million Britons have saved a cumulative total of £49 billion towards a rainy day. The average amount saved per person was £3,500, although in general it was older savers that tended to have the most set aside.

The over 65s had the largest average amount saved, at around £5,740, compared to the average 18 to 24-year-old with £963. Despite this, younger people were more likely to be saving up towards something in particular rather than saving for saving’s sake. A luxury holiday, a new car and home refurbishment were the top three targets for savers.

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Those that don’t have savings are taking out personal loans in a bid to keep up with their celebrity idols.

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