In a new twist, women are popularizing what Washington Post calls ?surgical vengeance.? Rather than ?bridalplasty,? more women in this recession are undergoing cosmetic surgery to mark the occasion of divorce.
Cosmetic surgeons say that there are just as many, if not more women seeking procedures because of a marital breakup rather than a a marital union.
Michael D. Cohen, medical director of the Cosmetic Surgery Center of Maryland, said that as he starts to get to know his patients, it often comes out that they have recently split from a partner. "There are a lot of women who come in either pre- or post-divorce who are looking to make themselves feel a little bit better," he says.
One of Cohen?s patients, for instance, came in for a tummy tuck and eyelid lift for a woman who just separated after 37 years of marriage. Another, a woman in her 20s, sought a breast augmentation after she found out her husband had cheated on her, and Cohen said that ?she suggested to the people preparing her for surgery that it was sort of payback.?
Thus was born the title ?vengeance plastic surgery,? and the concept has caught on rapidly.
In New York City, physician Stephen Greenberg developed a ?divorce package? for cosmetic surgery because of the popularity of vengeance plastic surgery. Greenberg?s divorce package offers a slight discount to patients who come following a breakup. Greenberg notes that these procedures are not women-dominated. He estimates that 30 percent of his patients utilizing the divorce package are men.
Others are motivated not by vengeance following a breakup, but restoration to a healthful appearance.
Ann Soriano, a New York City resident, was married for 17 years, but then she and her husband separated for several years before she finally filed for divorce early last year. Shortly after the divorce was finalized, she sought out cosmetic surgery from Joseph Eviatar. "I lost a lot of weight, just from the stress of it all,? Soriano said. ?And if you lose weight because you're eating well and exercising, it looks good. If you lose weight because somebody walks out on you, you don't look so good." Soriano, a 49 year old office manager, had a round of Restalyne injections, which boosted her confidence in her appearance, and is contemplating liposuction for her midsection. "I was just like, 'Jeez, I don't want to grow old by myself. So I've got to throw myself out there and see what happens,' " Soriano said. "And the first thing [people notice] is the look, unfortunately."
Phil Haeck, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, says that this is a common sentiment these days among his patients. He sums it us as: ?I?m going back on the market and I?m afraid how I look right now isn?t going to work.?
Relationship retaliation aside, many aging Americans are seeking cosmetic procedures because of the recession. Many are having to delay their retirement, and with the current job market, positions are scarce. Older Americans feel that cosmetic procedures enhance their ability to find and keep a job.
Still others, including many baby boomers, have lead healthy lives and despite the date on their driver?s license, they still feel young and want that feeling of youth to be more evident in their appearance.
Phil Haeck cautions, however, that plastic and cosmetic surgery may not be the fix-all that people think it is. He is concerned that patients seeking treatments in the middle of a divorce are making significant decisions at an emotionally unstable time, and he worries that this will lead to disappointment as people often expect cosmetic surgery to immediately alter their circumstances in life. "There's a discussion that has to be had - do they expect to find Superman or Superwoman the next day after they change their appearance? Because that person may not suddenly drop into their lives just because they've had something done," said Haeck.
He does balance that opinion with the idea that an extra boost of confidence can help newly single patients re-enter the dating pool. "There may be subtle things that happen in terms of their openness to talking to strangers," he says.