Though patients can have regrets, the majority of those who undergo surgery generally report being satisfied with the outcome of their procedures, according to David B. Sarwer, an associate dean for research at the College of Public Health at Temple University and a psychologist who’s studied the psychological implications of cosmetic surgery for over 25 years.
“That said, some rhinoplasty patients do report that it takes them a period of time to adjust to the new appearance of their face, and some also express some feelings of regret, particularly if they have changed a feature that is commonly seen in other family members,” he told HuffPost.
Sarwer is often brought in as a consultant when a surgeon is concerned that the patient may not be psychologically prepared for a given procedure. If a teen has body dysmorphic disorder issues, the psychologist dissuades the patient and surgeon from moving forward.
When teens feel unilaterally pressured by one or more of their parents to go under the knife, post-surgery disappointment is more common.
That was the case for Megan, a woman who was 18 when she got a breast implant on her left side. (Her left breast never developed the way the right one did.)
Megan never felt bothered by the difference in size, but her mother pushed the idea of surgery on her daughter.
“My mom would make comments that she wanted to help me get it fixed and that my husband would thank me one day,” she said.
But Megan’s breast didn’t heal the way she’d hoped it would, and 10 years later, she still regrets the surgery.
“I was happy with my body, even my one undeveloped breast. I made jokes about it, my girlfriends knew and would make the occasional joke, but I was happy with it all,” she said. “I want it fixed now, but I’m afraid to go under the knife again.”
Rod Rohrich, a plastic surgeon at the Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute, tries to suss out which teen patients are there on their own accord and which ones are there because of parental or cultural pressure. (In many cultures, including in Jewish and Persian American communities, a nose job in your teen years is practically a rite of passage.)
“I meet with the patient with ― and then without ― the parent to determine if they are the ones that want the procedure, but it is usually quite obvious when a young girl wants a rhinoplasty because they’ll be really pushing their parents to the consultation,” he said.