More and more couples are considering plastic surgery as the ultimate gift this holiday season. However, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) advises that it is important for patients to weigh the risks and benefits of any aesthetic procedure, as well as choose the surgeon that is right for the procedure they are seeking.

Even though there are benefits for going in for a consultation with a loved one, decisions about individual surgeries should be made by the person who is going to undergo the procedure. The ASAPS advises that couples who are undergoing procedures should time their surgeries so that the other person can be available to care for their partner when they have surgery.

"Couples who come in together for a consultation can learn about all of the factors involved in elective surgery and can learn how to care for each other during recovery. However, we need to remind people that aesthetic surgery should never be given as a ‘surprise gift,’" says Julius Few, MD, chair of the Public Education Committee at ASAPS. "Those who are thinking of buying each other aesthetic procedures for the holidays or any occasion should be aware that these procedures require careful consideration by each patient who is going to receive the surgery. This can be a wonderful gift to give each other, but it requires the input and careful consideration of both patients."

The ASAPS offers the following advice for those considering giving plastic surgery as a gift.

• The idea for plastic surgery should come from the person who intends to have it, not from a spouse, relative, or friend.

• Plastic surgery takes planning. If you expect to give or receive a "gift" of plastic surgery, make sure that everyone involved does their homework well ahead of time. A self-motivated, well-informed patient is more likely to be a satisfied patient.

• Patients should discuss risks, benefits, expectations, and desires with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Surgery should be performed at an accredited surgical facility.

• Not all patients are good candidates for all procedures. Patients need to be evaluated by a qualified plastic surgeon to determine if they are an appropriate candidate for a particular procedure.

[www.surgery.org, December 20, 2006]