Cosmetic surgery on the rise despite belt-tightening

GRIM news on the economic front is prompting Irish people to trim, tighten, nip and tuck with zeal.

It isn’t their spending habits that are getting a makeover, however, but their appearance.

The country’s biggest plastic surgery company has reported a 35% growth in business over the past year, demonstrating that belt-tightening is perfectly palatable so long as it gives the hourglass effect.

According to the Harley Medical Group, the cosmetic surgery industry is booming in Ireland despite the credit crunch, but that only proves one of their own assertions — that patients plan their surgery for several years rather than plump for it on impulse.

The company has compiled a list of what it finds to be the other most common myths about plastic surgery, countering them with the facts as experienced by its personnel over their 25 years in business.

It says a common belief is that having cosmetic surgery is like redecorating a house with patients feeling compelled to keep going from room to room — or procedure to procedure. In fact, 95% of Irish patients will only ever have one procedure.

Another frequent perception is that women who have breast augmentation see five-times under-the-knife celebrity Jordan as their role model.

In reality, the majority of women only go up by one or two cup sizes, leaving the average size a shapely but modest C cup.

The gravity-defying basketball look is also on the way out, apparently, with most Irish women opting for the new, softer, teardrop-shaped breast implant rather than the traditional round high-positioned version.

More men are having plastic surgery but women still outnumber them by four to one on the surgeon’s table. While having sticky-out ears pinned back and baggy eyes freshened up are still firm favourites with male patients, gynaecomastia or male breast reduction, also makes it into the top five procedures.

Irish patients take on average two to three years to consider their options before finally deciding to put themselves under the knife.

That would suggest that today’s patients are drawing on a kitty they began building back in the more financially optimistic days of 2005 and 2006, which means 2010 and 2011 will be more telling years for the cosmetic surgery industry’s own worry lines.

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