A recent article on the ABC News website looks at the issue of “buyer’s remorse” for cosmetic surgery patients. ABC reports that reality TV star Heidi Montag, who had 10 plastic surgery procedures in one day is looking to get a breast reduction. Her most recent breast augmentation made her a G cup.
“I think [plastic surgery remorse] is actually increasing, and I think in part it’s increasing because of the drop in reimbursement by insurance companies, which is driving doctors in other specialties into the plastic surgery market,” says Chicago plastic surgeon Dr. Julius Few.
Ann Kearney-Cooke, a psychologist who specializes in weight and body image issues, believes those who have “buyer’s remorse” after cosmetic procedures are usually troubled by deeper issues. “[The surgery] changes the look, but if you have a problem that you haven’t resolved, you’ll have a temporary positive feeling, but then something else is the problem,” notes Kearney-Cooke.
Dr. Timothy Miller, chief of plastic surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, feels remorse after surgery is not increasing. “Maybe I’ve seen it a few times in my practice, but it’s very rare,” he says.
Most plastic surgeons do agree that potential regret after cosmetic procedures could be avoided if patients and doctors recognize and address the problem.
“I have a therapist who works in my practice,” says Dr. Few. “We know in plastic surgery that if somebody has undue stress, the risk of complication is higher.”
Dr. Miller notes that, “Most plastic surgeons will tell patients to work out their problems—go talk to a psychiatrist or confide in somebody else.”
When considering cosmetic surgery, communication between the patient and doctor is key. “It’s really important that both the patient and the physician understand what the motivation is behind the surgery,” says Brooklyn plastic surgeon Dr. Malcolm Roth.