Jamie Rosen, Beauty Editor for Town & Country, wrote a very interesting and unique piece that just hit the newsstands. In “What He Really Thinks of Your Plastic Surgery“, she explored the impact of cosmetic surgery upon husband and wife relationships. I thought she did a great job. She interviewed several surgeons and each recommended patients who then anonymously related to Jamie their thoughts and feelings about their spouse’s surgery. In the case studies cited, the patients were all women.
An issue that one husband brought forth was his concerns about the risk of having the operation. His wife was our patient. She had a face and neck lift. He was concerned about “her being on the table for five hours.” The gentleman noted, “we gave it a lot of thought beforehand.” After the successful operation and the incident free anesthesia, everyone felt better about it. The husband mentioned, “Now I think it’s wonderful. She doesn’t always wear these big turtle necks anymore!”
Another issue that was explored was the support, physical and emotional, that husbands give to their ladies having cosmetic surgery. Dr. Gerald Pitman, a very distinguished and experienced plastic surgeon in New York City commented on how one husband, in order to provide the best home recovery, “borrowed emergency electricity from his neighbor’s generator.” The patient’s husband said, ” I ran an extension cord with heaters and everything so she would be comfortable and made a fire so that she would be warm. It was tough to see her go through all of that!”
Gerald Imber, MD, an extremely well regarded, experienced New York plastic surgeon who has written some excellent books and articles on the subject, reminded us that there needs to be a meeting of the minds between patient and spouse. He wisely urges his female patients not to have the proposed procedure if she doesn’t have complete support from her spouse.
Finally, one of the more interesting observations was that often as the success of the cosmetic surgery becomes evident in terms of a better and sleeker appearance, the spouse becomes more interested in diet, exercise and the activities that will contribute to improved appearance, short of surgery.
The change in attitude that has taken place over the last generation was noted by writer Rosen. There are a few spouses that strongly object to a wife’s desire to improve her appearance because there is the satisfaction of having a good looking woman on your arm . My quoted response regarding that issue to Jamie was “for selfish reasons, everybody wants to have a mate who looks good. It is a basic human desire.”
- Robert Kotler, MD, FACS