A Plastic Surgeon Under the Christmas Tree?

It’s holiday time, and for some lucky gift-getters, you might be their best present under the tree!

shutterstock 120504850Gift certificates for plastic surgery, anti-aging procedures, and other treatments are a popular, if not very generous, gift for the holidays. However, it’s a good idea for the giver to be sure it’s what the receiver wants.

“Spouses have to tread carefully when presenting their partner with this type of a gift. The other person can be offended if a physical attribute is brought to their attention that their spouse does not find appealing, or needs ‘remedy,’” shares Austin, Texas-based plastic surgeon, Jennifer Walden MD, FACS, PLLC.

Though she gets gift certificate requests for all types of procedures, from tummy tucks to Botox® and fillers to nonmedical services like facials and skin care, she says it’s best to know what your loved one wants before making the purchase.

“Last holiday season a young breast augmentation patient asked if she could give me $10,000 so she could give her mom a gift card for Christmas, as she knew her mom was in need of a particular body contouring procedure. I personally made the gift card for her. I told her that her mother needed to be cleared for the procedure by me after examination, of course, but as it turns out, the daughter knew what her mother [wanted].”

Even if the gift-giver knows exactly what his loved one wants, it’s still important to be sensitive with how the gift is presented.

New York City plastic surgeon Barry Weintraub, MD, says that cosmetic doctors are about as popular as Santa Claus this time of year. So what are people asking for? “Breast augmentation surgery is always a wonderful present to give to a woman, although it is very important that the patient herself is the one who requests the surgery, rather than being under pressure from a significant other,” he says.

Tummy tucks, not so much.  “Generally, I have not found that many people request tummy tucks on their own as a holiday present,” he says. “However, a tummy tuck in conjunction with a breast augmentation – or a ‘mommy makeover’ is requested as a holiday gift, when a woman wants to reclaim her pre-pregnancy torso.”

Still, “Spouses have to be careful to not imply their partner is unattractive or is in dire need of a tune-up,” shares Louisville, Ky/New Albany, Ind facial plastic surgeon, Donn Chatham, MD. “I did have a patient who felt insulted when her husband purchased a certificate to be applied to her ‘facial rejuvenation,’” he remembers.

Like Walden, Chatham says most often gift certificates at his practice are for “neurotoxins, filler injections, and facials, along with skin care products. Several devoted husbands whose wives come in for these things will purchase them in advance for their sweetie, with the confidence that it’s wanted; [and it makes their] shopping easier,” he adds.   

Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, John Layke, DO, says his practice gets lots of requests for gift certificates around this time of the year. “It’s usually for Botox and fillers, or facials and chemical peels to ‘rejuvenate for the holidays,'” he explains, and adds, “It is extremely busy over the holidays as everyone has vacation or winter breaks.”

Chatham agrees and adds, “December is always busier due to patients’ downtime from work and/or school, which allows time for surgery and healing. Also, people want to look good over the holidays, and in winter it is easier to stay out of the sun and outdoor activities, making surgical postop time not as disruptive.” Additionally, Chatham says, “This is a hectic time for many, and a little ‘tweaking’ seems to help them get through the holiday chaos and stressful family commitments.”