The topic of plastic surgery always inevitably evokes strong opinions. There are those who find the idea of changing their appearance empowering, and they aren’t afraid to talk about having work done. Others prefer to be more discreet, telling only a few close friends or family members. And some won’t tell anyone at all.
If you find out that your spouse or someone you love is going to have cosmetic surgery, you may not know exactly how to respond. And that’s okay. Our team of board-certified plastic surgeons are familiar with the complexities that come with a decision this significant, and have walked countless couples through this journey.
What Are the Emotional Effects of Plastic Surgery?
While every person is different, it is common to experience heightened emotions with plastic surgery procedures such as breast augmentation, tummy tuck, or facelift. The connection between mental health and cosmetic procedures is frequently studied, and it’s not uncommon for shifts in mood to occur throughout the process.
While making a cosmetic change can provide a boost in confidence, it often will come with feelings of self-doubt and even temporary regret as one adjusts to the physical changes. Other common feelings before a surgical procedure can include:
- Questioning the decision
- Irritability and sensitivity to the opinions of others
- Curiosity about the final outcome of the procedure
- Difficulty sleeping
While most patients are generally happy with the outcome of their procedure, expect emotional swings as your loved one goes through the surgical process.
How Does Plastic Surgery Affect Relationships?
While there may be short-term tension as your loved one prepares for surgery, the long-term benefits are significant—particularly for relationships. Plastic surgery increases self-confidence, and this boost in confidence can lead to improved communication, a willingness to engage in social activities, and a generally more positive outlook on life.
It is important to be sensitive to your partner and open to dialogue about their desires and motivations. The key is to be supportive and patient as your significant other works through the stages of their journey.
A Timeline of Support
Once your loved one has made the decision to pursue cosmetic surgery, understanding how their emotional and physical needs may change throughout the process will help you prepare for how best to support them.
Perhaps the first and best thing you can do is be supportive. Even if you don’t think your loved one “needs” plastic surgery, find out what their motivation is. Ask questions and really listen to their answers. For most, plastic surgery isn’t about trying to become a celebrity look-alike–it’s about subtle improvements that make a big change in someone’s confidence. For others, it’s about restoring their appearance so they look more like how they feel on the inside (young, vibrant, and healthy).
Being supportive doesn’t mean you can’t share your concerns. You should feel free to express your worries or fears, but do so in a loving way that doesn’t include shame or judgment. For example, rather than saying, “I don’t want you to look overdone,” try, “I’m afraid you’ll look different, and I love how you look now.”
Remember, though, that this is your loved one’s decision: it’s their body and their choice. Even if you love everything about them, they may not feel as confident as they like. Or, they may just want to experiment with a new look. At the end of the day, it’s their right to change their body if they want.
Try to be there for your loved one on the day of their procedure–whether by text, in person, or even just through private messages on social media. Sending words of encouragement will help your loved one feel supported and cared for at a time when they may feel nervous and vulnerable.
If you’re not sure what to say, you could also simply ask how they’re doing. This will help your loved one know you are thinking of them and will also reinforce that you care about their health and safety.
The best thing you can do after your loved one’s plastic surgery procedure is keep them as comfortable as possible. Bring them meals, binge-watch their favorite show with them, pick up their favorite snack or sweet treat. Be available and attentive, but also allow them time to rest and heal. This is especially true if your loved one has had a surgical procedure such as liposuction as opposed to a minimally invasive procedure.
Remember that it will take several weeks or even months for the final results of plastic surgery to show. During this time, be patient and continue to support your loved one. Don’t let swelling, bruising, or other side effects make you nervous–they are only temporary and soon your loved one will be looking and feeling their very best.
If you are curious about pursuing a cosmetic surgery procedure for yourself, contact us today.