If someone had told you 10 years ago that people would pay hundreds of pounds a year to have a paralysing toxin injected into their faces in the name of beauty, you'd have thought they were mad. But Botox injections have become an everyday cosmetic procedure. More invasive measures, such as liposuction, where unwanted fat is vacuumed from your flabby thighs or stomach, is equally in demand. Although no complete industry figures exist, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons said that in 2004 cosmetic surgery operations performed by its members rose by 18%. The most popular procedure among women was breast surgery; for men, a nose job. It isn't cheap. A boob job can set you back £5,000, and a new nose £4,000. These procedures are painful as well as expensive, and the outcome can be unpredictable (remember Leslie Ash's trout pout?). Yet people are willing to take the risk because youthful appearance has become the measure of a person's worth. Wrinkles, once a sign of wisdom, must now be eradicated, and a sagging jawline firmed up. No longer do we grow old gracefully, as in the East, where age is revered. Just think of the reluctant wrinkly American comedian Joan Rivers. But surgery isn't just for TV stars; business executives aren't averse to the surgeon's knife, either. A recent survey showed that one in four women and one in five men in business would consider cosmetic surgery to boost their career. As Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi would argue, if you want to stay in charge, get a facelift.