A Confession: How Should We Tell Our Families About Plastic Surgery?

Melissa Doft M.D.

The real question is should this even be considered a confession? A confession renders images of a small little black box, a quiet priest on the other side, and the fact that you did something wrong. Why should we feel bad about doing something to make us feel more confident?

I am always struck by the many ways that patients approach telling their significant others about what they have done or what they are planning to do. Many women and men never admit to the little things- Botox, fillers, chemical peels. To so many, these procedures are equivalent to a small tweak that is more maintenance than change. By using low doses of Botox when requested and micro-droplets of fillers in the right locations, I have been able to make so many patients just look better and not different. The majority of patients are not unhappy with their appearance, they just want to look the best that they can.

But what about the larger procedures, the ones which you cannot hide from your spouse? Commonly patients will come to the first appointment by themselves. They want to make sure that I am the right doctor for them, that our visions align, and that the plan makes sense. Some spouses come to the office on the pre-operative visit but many arrive on the day of surgery. Some spouses ask many questions while others sit back and only want to confirm that the procedure is safe and that their loved one will not change too much. Yet other patients simply tell their husbands a few days before, “Dear, you have to pick me up on Monday as I am getting my eyes done…I did not tell you? You must have just forgotten.” Another patient held a party before having her breast reduction entitled “#Boobye.” She describes her breasts as ten inches tall, 24 years old, and last seen in New York. But my favorite method was by a young patient who told her boyfriend about her upcoming breast augmentation in a poem.

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Spring is for growth
And a surprise for you!
On Feb twenty-three
In early afternoon
I’ll be in New York
Getting two new balloons!
Now, we’re talking C cups
So don’t fret in Colorado
No porn star melons
More like…avocados?
So say a goodbye
But don’t hesitate
You’ll like the new ones
Yours Truly, Kate

In the end, the decision to have plastic surgery is a personal choice. You should never be pushed into having a procedure because you feel that you need to; you should do it because you want to. When done for the right motivation, your family will support you.