Celebrity obsession and television makeover shows are fuelling a rise in cosmetic surgery in Britain, researchers said today.

Bigger breasts, wrinkle-free skin and face-lifts are top of people’s wish lists, according to a report by market research firm Mintel.

Nearly 700,000 procedures will be carried out this year, a rise of 40 per cent on 2005, driven in part by changing public attitudes towards cosmetic surgery, the report said.

"Acceptance of cosmetic surgery is growing," said Mintel analyst Jenny Catlin. "Television coverage and the popularity of procedures amongst celebrities (have) invariably played a key role."

Easier access to treatment has eroded the "mystique factor" to the point where a quarter of women and one in 10 men would consider going under the knife, she added.

The market will be worth 59 million pounds in 2007, more than the amount Britain spends on tea, according to the report.

The most popular treatments last year were Botox injections to iron out wrinkles and chemical peels which take off the top layer of skin to try to give a smoother look.

The number of breast enlargement operations will reach an estimated 26,000 this year from 10,000 in 2003.

But despite the growth in popularity, nearly a third of Britons still oppose cosmetic surgery on principle, Mintel said.

More than a third said the price of surgery put them off, while a quarter said they feared something could go wrong.