A LEADING plastic surgeon has warned people not to give cosmetic surgery as a gift this Christmas.

Tim Goodacre, a consultant at the John Radcliffe Hospital, in Oxford, said advertising campaigns by budget clinics are stepped up in the run up to Christmas to target last minute present shoppers and those wanting to look better for the party season.

Mr Goodacre, who is also vice president of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), said adverts in womens’ weekly magazines, free papers and on websites lured people in with cheap offers.

Adverts offering ‘two procedures for the price of one’, cosmetic surgery as a raffle prize, or featuring vouchers which can be swapped for an operation and discounts all help boost the number of people who opt for surgery.

Mr Goodacre said: “Aesthetic surgery can have a really positive impact on a person’s quality of life by boosting self esteem and confidence.

“However, it is still major surgery and should not be entered into lightly, and certainly not given as an unsolicited Christmas gift.

“It is worrying that cosmetic surgery is being seen by some as a commodity that can be given as easily as a handbag at Christmas.

“Face lifts, liposuction and breast surgery are now marketed by some in the same way as the latest moisturiser or mascara.

“If you simply type ‘plastic surgery offers’ into Google, you can see the type of advertising campaigns which are easily available to people.”

Mr Goodacre said there had been a number of occasions where patients had relied on the NHS because surgery had gone wrong, or they regretted it.

He added he is also concerned cosmetic procedures have been trivialised by TV programmes which treat cosmetic surgery as a quick and easy solution for anyone wanting to improve the way they look or feel.

He said: “It seems to be trivialising surgery, when actually it is a very serious thing.