The failure to monitor patients in some hospitals and clinics is a “recipe for disaster”, according to the UK-wide study.
More than half of the centres performing operations are missing vital equipment, the research found.
Tighter regulation of the sector is being demanded by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD), the charity which published the report.
Nigel Mercer, president of British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said: “These figures present a distressing picture, but one which is sadly not surprising to us as they only confirm what we have been saying for years – there is an absolute need for statutory regulation.”
The number of women having botched cosmetic operations both in the UK and other parts of Europe is said to be increasing.
They include the wife of former Scotland captain Colin Hendry, who died last year after a seven-year battle against complications following liposuction.
Denise Hendry, 43, caught an infection after what should have been the last in a line of procedures to correct the original operation, which went wrong.
Surgeon and report author Ian Martin said many rules regulating mainstream hospitals did not apply to cosmetic firms.
He said: “We want the public to be reassured that the surgeon they go to has had proper training and that they have been properly assessed to be competent to do that operation and that there is some system in place to make sure that they are maintaining their skills … none of that exists for the cosmetic surgery sector.”
The Scottish Care Commission was meant to regulate the cosmetic surgery sector in Scotland, but this has not yet happened.
A spokesman for the Care Commission said: “We will discuss the findings in our meetings with independent healthcare providers.”