In what will surprise many, the number of men having plastic surgery to improve their appearance has almost doubled over the last year with liposuction the most popular procedure among male city workers.
According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), 22,041 procedures were carried out year, up 34.6% from 2004.
The majority of cosmetic surgery continues to be carried out on women, 19,601 procedures in 2005, but men now make up 11% of the total, up from just 8% in 2004.
As the popularity of nose jobs, facelifts and other anti-ageing procedures continues to grow, male interest has also increased, particularly for facial alterations and for anti-ageing procedures.
The audit shows that of the 2,440 operations carried out on men, the most popular were rhinoplasty (nose job), blepharoplasty (eyelid lift), otoplasty (ear pinning), liposuction and face or neck lifts.
Women were shown to have had 5,646 breast enlargements, 2,868 blepharoplasties and 2,593 breast reductions.
Mr Adam Searle, a consultant surgeon at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, says that there is increasing public confidence in cosmetic surgery and a growing acceptance of aesthetic surgery, particularly in maintaining appearance with age.
He says it remains essential however that surgeons continue to promote responsible practice.
Douglas McGeorge, a consultant plastic surgeon and president-elect of BAAPS, said that the figures illustrated a growing desire for Britons to feel good about their appearance, and an awareness of the procedures available and their safety.
Although concerns have been raised by many doctors about what they consider to be a growing "commoditisation" of cosmetic surgery which they say violates the code of ethics of good medical practice, McGeorge says aesthetic surgery can have a very positive psychological impact and improve a patient’s quality of life.
According to a recent poll it was revealed that almost half of women and a quarter of all men in the UK would consider having cosmetic surgery.
Rajiv Grover, the surgeon who conducted the audit, says it is essential to be selective in choosing the right practitioner, as the results are long-lasting but complications can be permanent.
The Department of Health has launched a website providing the public with information about the risks and benefits of cosmetic surgery, and the importance of seeking advice from a properly qualified practitioner.