Cosmetic surgery lottery condemned by doctors

London: The UK body, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons today condemned a new ‘monthly cosmetic super draw’ in which contestants can win aesthetic surgery procedures which will take place in Prague.

Briton John Babbage, of the company, Europa International, said it was arrogant to assume that doctors in other countries were less competent than those in the UK. He also said there was no difference between somebody winning a competition for surgery and paying for it.

People are encouraged to enter the company’s draw through a section on their website entitled “win your surgery for just £1.50”. The monthly draw gives people in the UK the chance of winning £6,000 towards cosmetic surgery.

They are encouraged to call a number or send a text, costing £1.50 a time, with the words “Change your life for only £1.50.”

The website also has a header saying Europa International has been “Cosmetic surgery abroad specialists since 1996.”

Douglas McGeorge, consultant plastic surgeon and President of the BAAPS said:

“I am appalled at this new scheme but unfortunately not surprised. Companies are plumbing new depths to take advantage of a growing interest in plastic surgery by launching unscrupulous marketing gimmicks which violate not only an established code of ethics where financial and date-linked incentives are prohibited, but also common sense.”

The Association has also expressed deep concern at the hype-filled process involved in winning such a prize: the public is meant to phone in or text for the opportunity to win, with no medical history taken or suitability evaluated. Once the winner is announced, the prospective patient meets with ‘directors’ (not the surgeon) with only ‘photos sent to the experts in Prague’ before being flown there for the operation.

Douglas McGeorge says: “I find it atrocious that patients are filtered through sales advisors and marketers who obviously have a vested interest . I would question whether the public are really giving informed consent if they haven’t even met the practitioner in person.”

Adam Searle, former President of the BAAPS adds:

“The offer of a cosmetic surgery procedure as a prize is an awful manifestation of the trivialisation of medical care in general, and aesthetic surgery in particular. Any patient making irreversible decisions in circumstances of hype, excitement and emotion, are putting themselves at very great risk. Any normal patient – doctor relationship is completely abandoned in any such framework of medical care. This is a practice I unreservedly and utterly condemn.”

The BAAPS based at the Royal College of Surgeons, is a not-for-profit organisation, established for the advancement of education and practice of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for public benefit. Members undergo thorough background screening before they can join. Information about specific procedures and surgeons’ contact details can be found on the web site, or by contacting their advice line at 020 7405 2234. Further materials can be posted to members of the public seeking specialised information.