How to Know If You’re Undergoing Cosmetic Plastic Surgery For the Right Reasons

I’m more than qualified to talk about this subject—not because I’m a plastic surgeon, but because I’ve had plastic surgery myself. I had a rhinoplasty (a nose job) when I was 24 and still in college. I’d broken my nose three times playing baseball when I was younger, so it wasn’t exactly pretty. I never liked my nose, and I remember all the painful emotions that came with that.

I was honest with my family and myself about wanting surgery for purely cosmetic reasons. I didn’t even try to pretend there was something wrong medically. I just didn’t like what I saw in the mirror. I struggled with my emotions and wondered if I was being silly and vain. I talked with my mom about it (she’d had nasal plastic surgery), and she set my thinking straight. “If your nose bothers you, then you should do it,” she said. “We’ll help you.”

Looking back, having the surgery was the best decision I ever made. Everything that bothered me when I looked in a mirror was gone, and it was very liberating. I had real confidence and no longer thought people were staring at my ugly nose (even if they never were). I felt like people were talking to me, and that was huge for me.

I had surgery for me alone—and no one else—because I didn’t like my nose. And you know what? That’s a perfectly legitimate reason and is, in fact, the best reason to have surgery. Why someone wants surgery is so important that I spend a lot of time with my patients trying to find out what’s motivating their desires. Having it for the right reasons can change your life for the good and can be crucial to the surgery’s long-term success. But having it for the wrong reasons can be one of the worst mistakes you’ll ever make.

Ask yourself why you want this. Here are some more good reasons to have surgery:

  • Restore youth
  • Fit better in your clothes
  • Fix the aftermath of pregnancy
  • Fix the aftermath of significant weight loss
  • Look as good as you feel
  • Correct deformities
  • Repair damage from injuries

It’s safe to say that any reason for having surgery that isn’t purely for yourself is a wrong reason. Don’t do it because your husband, wife, partner, or friends say you’d look better with a bigger butt, larger breasts, or flatter tummy. Never have it to impress someone else or to look better in an outfit.

More bad reasons:

  • Unrealistic expectations (like saving a failing marriage)
  • Obsession with perfection
  • Gain social acceptance
  • To “start over” after a divorce

Your motives should be your own—totally. Not because all your friends are doing it, not to impress your husband (or boss or your social groups), and especially not because you think your spouse won’t want to leave you if you do it. Those are not the right reasons. You have to do it for yourself—100 percent.