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Surgeons slam Channel 4 show in which young people plead to go under the knife

Channel 4 has announced a series on cosmetic surgery (Philip Toscano/PA)
Channel 4 has announced a series on cosmetic surgery (Philip Toscano/PA)

Cosmetic surgeons are “extremely concerned” about a Channel 4 show which sees young people plead to go under the knife.

Newly-commissioned show The Surjury observes young people pitching ideas for their dream surgeries to convince a jury of peers and experts to approve their life-changing operations.

Medical professionals have condemned the show and warned of the “potential harm” the programme could pose to the young and emotionally vulnerable, and voiced their frustration that a major broadcaster would make such a programme.

The British Association Of Plastic, Reconstructive And Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) said the concept of the show glamorises and trivialises life-changing procedures, and could lead to a rise in botched surgeries.

Channel 4 director Ian Katz said the aim of the broadcaster was to “make entertaining, mischievous and innovative shows about the big issues and arguments in Britain today”.

Surgeons have raised major concerns about its approach to tackling these issues.

BAPRAS president and surgeon Mr Mark Henley said: “We are extremely concerned about the message this programme portrays and its particular focus on young people.

“Based on the promotional materials alone, we believe the show will trivialise the serious decision all should take when considering aesthetic procedures.

“It is disappointing that, in 2019, we are still having to remind large broadcasters of the potential harm caused by glamorising cosmetic surgery – particularly when targeting young adults or those with self-esteem issues.”

The new show will see young people go under the knife if they are given the thumbs-up by a 12-strong jury. They will have to secure 75% of the jury vote to get their procedure, and then will be invited back to “show off the results” after a few months.

Channel 4 said in promoting the show: “From bum-lifts to nose jobs, sculpted abs to breast enlargements, The Surjury allows people to explore their choices more thoroughly.”

Surgeons have suggested that many people who have gone under the knife are less confident after a procedure than they were before.

Mr Henley said: “There is every chance that a show like The Surjury – which asks young people to ‘pitch’ their ‘dream’ surgery to a panel – will encourage viewers to rush into personal decisions about cosmetic procedures without considering all outcomes and risks, or taking the time to ensure they visit a reputable surgeon.

“This is particularly a concern given the frequency with which BAPRAS surgeons are having to perform complicated reconstructive procedures on individuals who have received ‘botched surgery’ both at home and abroad.”

Cosmetic surgeon Mr Naveen Cavale also voiced concerns over the show, which he said should not air and he hoped was simply a “parody”.

He said: “I sincerely hope this is the producers’ idea of a joke, or at the very least, this is a parody show.

“Because, if this is for real, it will be the perfect demonstration of exactly the wrong way to go about deciding whether to have cosmetic surgery. I cannot imagine any decent plastic surgeon choosing to perform surgery on this basis.

“To start with cosmetic surgery should never be about doing something because someone else suggests you do so, be it a friend, partner or a ‘jury’ on a TV show.

“It should be about people choosing to do what they want to do, to themselves and for themselves. And about us, as professionals, responsibly guiding people regarding safety. Surgery carries serious risks. People die following cosmetic surgery.

“This show cannot be allowed to go ahead.”

The show has been commissioned by Channel 4 from Gobstsopper Television.

Ross McCarthy, executive producer for Gobstopper, said when the show was first announced: “This is a totally new way of doing peer-to-peer advice. Our pitchers will either get the surgery they’ve always wanted, or a massive boost in confidence when the public rules they don’t need work at all.”

Channel 4 has been asked for comment following the criticism.

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