No breast enlargement for girls under 18, Italian government orders
Italy is to introduce legislation that will make it illegal for girls under 18 to have breast enhancement or other plastic surgery.
According to the latest figures available more than 10,000 teenage girls had surgery in 2008 - with many of them getting the operation known as a "boob job" as a gift from their parents.
Officials want to clamp down on the growing number of cases where unauthorised and authorised surgeons have caused problems with botched operations or sub standard silicon implants.
Currently in Britain there is no legislation preventing under-18s from having plastic surgery and, as in Italy, there have been a number of horror stories of operations going wrong.
Francesca Martini, an undersecretary within Italy's welfare ministry, said the government wanted an official register of surgeons qualified to perform plastic surgery drawn up.
She said: "This legislation is primarily aimed at the growing number of girls under 18 who have breast enhancement surgery purely for fashion reasons and have no idea of the risks involved.
"Far too many adolescent girls are unaware of the fact that there are risks with this type of surgery and it should not be used purely for fashion and looks.At the moment we have a Wild West, cowboy style system of plastic surgery for young women and this must stop."
Francesco D'Andrea, of the Italian Society of Plastic Surgeons, said: "We are very much in favour of this register because too many people carr out these operations without the proper qualifications.
"Banning under 18's from having the surgery is also a good idea because these girls are just too young to be operated on. Some surgeons have no idea what they are doing and create huge risks."
According to statistics from the Italian Society of Plastic Surgeons there are around 85,000 breast enhancement operations a year in Italy, of which 70 per cent are for aestheticic reasons and 30 per cent follow cancer treatment.