The decision to undergo plastic surgery is highly personal and private for many people. By the time someone has taken the steps to schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon and get the process started, it’s likely they have been contemplating it for some time.
Why get plastic surgery? Some women and men may wish to tweak or refine a feature they were born with, such as a nose or body shape. While for others, it may be a desire to restore their appearance to when they felt and looked their best, or to reverse some of the changes that occur due to weight gain or pregnancy.
If your spouse has suddenly brought up the subject of plastic surgery, chances are it’s not out of the blue for them. For this reason, they will be very appreciative to receive your support through all the stages – from the initial consultation to recovery. Below are some guidelines that can help you understand where your spouse is coming from, and how to be most helpful before, during and after their plastic surgery.
Being Supportive During the Initial Decision Process
The most important thing to understand when your spouse is considering plastic surgery is that it’s about them, and not necessarily about anyone else. There’s often a misconception that plastic surgery is something people have to appear more attractive to others. Although there’s some truth to this, ultimately the reason your spouse is considering plastic surgery is to feel more confident, empowered and pleasing to themselves.
You may feel that your partner is perfect the way they are and you don’t want them to change. You may not understand or even agree with their decision to have surgery. Perhaps you’re worried about the risks associated with surgical procedures in general. All these concerns are valid. In the end, however, it’s your spouse who feels deeply that the desired change will help them look and feel better. How you handle that conversation can go a long way to helping them feel at ease about their decision.
The following are some suggestions.
Be mindful about your language. If your spouse brings up an interest in plastic surgery, avoid language such as: “You don’t need plastic surgery. You look fine and I love you the way you are.” Instead, a more effective way to validate their decision is to say: “I think you look great just the way you are. But I completely understand this is important to you and I’m here for you.”
Listen and Be Empathetic. Once your spouse feels safe to open up and share their reasons for wanting plastic surgery, try to see things from their point of view. Now is the time to listen without judgment or trying to change their mind. Validating their concerns will ensure your spouse feels heard and understood during this crucial time.
Dealing With Your Own Fears For Their Safety
It’s normal to have some reservations about your spouse having a surgical procedure. Perhaps you’re unsure about safety and the risks involved. Or you may be wondering how their appearance will be altered. Will they look different than the person you love? You may find it helpful to be an active participant in their plastic surgery journey to help ease some of your own worries. Here’s how:
Research the procedure and discuss it together. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that most plastic surgery procedures these days have an excellent safety record. Of course you want to choose a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who specializes in the area of interest.
Attend the consultation with your spouse. With their agreement, being present during the assessment and consultation process can give you a better idea about what’s involved in your spouse’s procedure. You’ll be able to ask questions, view before and after photos and get more comfortable with the skills and qualifications of the plastic surgeon.
Get familiar with the after-care procedures. Knowing what to expect post surgery can prepare you in advance and demystify your spouse’s procedure. Together you can decide if you’ll be the primary caregiver or if someone else will be necessary to assist with the recovery process.
How to Care for Your Spouse Immediately Post Surgery
The first couple of weeks following surgery are the most crucial, and during this time your spouse may need your help the most. Here’s how you can be the most supportive:
Once your spouse gets home, try to make them as comfortable as possible. Make sure you or someone is always on hand to prop up their pillow, help them with a sip of water and attend to any other needs. They will probably still be tired or groggy from the surgery, and may want to sleep more than usual. This is normal. Furthermore, the pain medication prescribed to them post-procedure can make them sleepy or drowsy.
By the next day, any anaesthetic or pain medication used during surgery will have worn off. If your spouse had major surgery, such as a breast reduction or tummy tuck, now is the time they may start experiencing some pain and discomfort. Helping them take their medications on time will ensure they’re as comfortable as possible.
Depending on the type of surgery, your spouse may need help with basic tasks, such as getting on/off the bed, sitting on the couch, getting dressed and undressed, or going to the bathroom. They may also need your assistance with changing bandages, drains and dressings. Discussing in advance who will perform these tasks and what to expect will ensure a smooth and speedy recovery.
Be There for Your Spouse During the Recovery Process
If it’s your spouse’s first time having plastic surgery, they may feel overwhelmed at times and start to question their decision. That’s because no matter how adequately their surgeon has informed them, or how much research they did in advance, nothing actually prepares a person for the temporary discomfort in the first few weeks following surgery.
Your spouse might even express remorse about having surgery in the first place. It’s important to understand that any feelings of regret are usually only temporary. If this happens, reassure your spouse that they will feel better soon and ask if there’s anything you can do to help. Avoid non-helpful statements such as: “See, this is why I didn’t want you to have plastic surgery.” Instead offer words of encouragement about what they’re going through.
After the first critical weeks have passed, your spouse will start to feel much better. They’ll become more independent and require your help less and less. This is a good sign that they’re healing nicely and everything is going to plan. But this doesn’t mean that being a supportive partner stops there.
It can take a year or longer to see the final results sometimes, and your spouse’s healing journey may hit some bumps and snags along the way. Some unexpected issues that may arise include slow healing, infection, noticeable surgical scars and in rare cases, disappointing results. If this happens, make sure your spouse gets to their follow up appointments regularly to address these issues and reassure them you can see improvement already and everything will turn out great.