Telling Friends About Having Plastic Surgery: Yes or No? It’s entirely a personal decision.
- Cosmetic Surgery DISCLOSURES to partners, friends, family members and work colleagues are a very personal decision.
- Like having plastic surgery to begin with, it’s a decision that only you can make.
- It can be helpful to have your friends support (as described in Part 2) – but not everyone makes a good support person, so choose carefully.
Many friends won’t notice you’ve changed your look UNLESS you tell them or they’re very observant – but if you use social media regularly, the change may be more visible in photographs.
- It’s usually optional to tell others you’ve had – or are planning on having – cosmetic surgery.
- Because many procedures – even facelifts – can yield natural-looking results with advanced techniques and scar management.
- Sometimes people also change their wardrobe, hair and makeup after having surgery – so sometimes the surgery itself ‘blends in’ with other changes.
That noted, some surgery results are more obvious to others than other procedure results. And if you have hid your body or breasts under baggy clothing, they may just think you’ve changed your wardrobe and not catch on that you’ve had an augmentation or a tummy tuck.
For some cosmetic procedures, however, the downtime – or differences in your appearance – will be more difficult to keep a secret from people who are close to you.
But for most procedures these days, you can hide it if you wish. Today, however, fewer people are inclined to do so.
- Of course, even with natural-looking results, there usually will be scars after plastic surgery.
- Some changes to your face or body will appear more obvious in photographs (nose reshaping surgery, for example) to people who are paying close attention.
- But many cosmetic procedures are more subtle in their results so you do NOT NEED to reveal you’ve had something changes, if your aim is to keep your cosmetic endeavours a secret.
- There’s no RIGHT or WRONG in who you tell – just make a thoughtful, informed decision.
- And know that if you share it with one person or on social media, it may become more widely known by your circle of friends.
Not everyone will tend to notice you’ve had a change – even if you wanted them to notice.
Some will, some won’t. That’s the nature of humans and in part, the tendency to focus on themselves rather than on what you’ve been obsessing about changing all these years.
Don’t be disappointed if no one DOES notice – but your close friends may know, or you may choose to tell them. Therese’s a great deal of variety and personal discretion in sharing your surgery experiences – the approach to total secrecy vs online-revelations is up to you.
- Even well-planned, modern facelift surgery or breast augmentation can leave you with a natural-looking enhancement that others MAY NOT RECOGNISE as having been attained by surgical means. You may simply be told by others you look “rested,” “less tired or less angry/happier/more content”, or “that you’ve just returned from holidays.”
- So telling others, again, is entirely at your discretion and there’s NO RIGHT or WRONG.
But in modern times, telling friends about having plastic surgery is NO LONGER taboo.
In fact, for celebrities, it’s turned into a celebrity social media sharing frenzy.
- In current social environments, however, telling others you’re having cosmetic plastic surgery is NO LONGER TABOO.
- No longer is hiding plastic surgery experiences a thing of the past, as it was long ago when only celebrities had plastic surgery and it was a ‘hush-hush’ topic people tried to hide.
- These days, in no small part to social media and celebrity posts from Amber Rose about her Breast Reduction, and the Kardashians about nearly everything else, people are far more open about having cosmetic procedures performed – and showing their Before and After photographs online.
Even Marilyn Monroe, reported to have had chin augmentation surgery – which photos support was likely the case, kept it a secret.
- Today, revealing surgery procedures has even reached the point where celebrities – and celebrity surgeons – appear to BRAG about their surgery experiences, online.
- Hence, sharing the fact you’ve had surgery is becoming more accepted across nearly every medium of social discussions, from verbal to Instagram and Facebook.
- But some groups and individuals have concerns this sharing is doing some harm as well as good, in that it may be seen to minimise the risks involved with surgery. Click here for the Four Corners report on the Australian Cosmetic Surgery Industry.
But in terms of sharing your surgery experiences – and doing your research online – chances are you’ve come across many posts by others about their experiences. Chances are also high you found these helpful in your own research.
And if you have found it helpful, just be sure you know that all surgery has risks and that you’ll need to discuss your surgery goals IN DETAIL with a genuine Plastic Surgery before making any big decisions. Download our guides so you know what to expect.
Telling Others You’re Having Surgery – it’s up to you, but there’s a benefit in being tasteful in what you share.
- But at the end of the day, it’s really up to you.
- You can choose to share it or you can choose to keep it secret.
- Just know that with digital media so prevalent, if you share it with even your closest friends, they may inadvertently share it with others even though you’re wanting to keep it a secret.
- So be sure anyone you DO share your experiences with KNOWS your preferences, and know that this isn’t a guarantee a before and after photograph of you won’t be put up online by friends.
- If you yourself want to share, use discretion and think about your future.
- If you want to bare all – consider taming it down to a tasteful revealing outfit (but again, this is entirely up to you) – it’s just that grandparents, parents and colleagues are often on your social media pages – and it can lead to awkwardness at times.
- On some consumer forums, you can go anonymously or post just the body part (rather than full face/body photos, as the celebrities often do).
Case Study Example of Celebrity Surgery Posts: The magnificent AMBER ROSE shared her experiences about a breast reduction in a People Magazine interview and many online posts on Instagram.
Keeping Having Plastic Surgery a Secret – A thing of the past?
- In the distant past, having plastic surgery – especially a facelift or a Rhinoplasty – was something done in secret.
- Even your closest friends were often left out of loop.
- Some people even tried to hide it from their partners or parents, especially if they know the parent or partner is a person against any form of cosmetic enhancement.
- For individuals who say they are against Plastic Surgery, where do they draw the line about enhancing anything using medical means?
- Do they insist on never wearing makeup, or leaving missing gaps in your smile if you lose a tooth? Yes, cosmetic dentistry is also invasive.
- At the end of the day, choose for yourself, but make an educated, well-thought and informed decision about SURGERY and about telling others.
Today, the decision to tell friends and others about having surgery is entirely a PERSONAL decision.
- The trend seems to be that many people DO share their experiences, but not all.
- In our Clinic, we see a mix of choices in this regard – although many patients DO prefer the chance to see other patient’s BEFORE & AFTER photos (de-identified or full face) – and to hear case study surgery experiences on online forums before they make their decisions to have a procedure performed.
Surgery sharing used to be taboo.
It’s different today with plastic surgery procedures. Sharing your surgery results with others is no longer taboo.
People share far more about their surgery experiences in modern times, both in-person and online, not just celebrities trying to improve their fan base on Instagram or Facebook.
- The tendency today is to share nearly ALL of life’s day to day experiences with friends, fans and loved ones online.
- This now encompasses big life events such as cosmetic plastic surgery experiences (and less-big events, for some, such as daily coffees or food choices).
- Sharing online now includes video footage of the plastic surgery procedure being performed by the Surgeon, or immediate ‘post-op’ bruising and bandages or videos under the influence of pain medication (remember, even if everyone else is very open, discretion during your post-op period while under pain meds is likely going to be your friend here!).
Stories come across the internet as a form of shared consumer experiences and patient education via online plastic surgery forums, Surgeon and surgery procedure satisfaction ratings, social media experiences and proud-new-body selfies.
Not everyone agrees this is in everyone’s best interest. But consumer to consumer sharing is now rated higher in reliability than anything a Surgeon says.
- Just remember, the internet is filled with truths, half-truths, and incredibly far from the information of the truth.
- Do a LOT of research and choose your resources wisely.
- If you’re going to share your surgery or your BEFORE & AFTERS, recognise that digital online shares may have an indefinite lifetime (more infinite than indefinite) as digital shares cannot be erased from all platforms, servers or media channels.
- That noted, there’s no longer a social taboo about sharing your life’s events – including surgery – if that’s what you’re wanting to do.
Again, it’s up to you, and only you.
People are more open to revealing they had plastic surgery or cosmetic treatments today. Why is that the case?
We think social media sharing and in-person discussions about surgery are growing because consumers are simply more accustomed to sharing ALL of life with their loved ones, friends and followers.
Most surgery patients today are also confident enough in their decision-making to be:
- open about what they’ve chosen
- willing to discuss the WHYS and HOWS and WHERES
- not afraid to show their images on social media (mostly, the BEFORE & AFTER photos)
- happy to share with others what it’s REALLY LIKE to have surgery so that others can know better what to expect
But keep realistic expectations and DO recognise that NO TWO experiences are alike.
Even if you’re the same age, same body type and having the same procedure – even if you’re identical twins – your surgery experience and surgery result will be UNIQUE to you.
- Remember, every experience is different.
- Your experience can vary significantly from anything you’ve read or seen; including results, comfort/discomfort and recovery times.
- Despite broad social media sharing, you need to understand ALL invasive procedures carry risks and results can vary tremendously – including recovery experiences.
Still, consumers say that these shared-online experiences help them make decisions about their surgical procedures.
CONS of sharing:
Remember, however, that:
- Sharing information online or in person does have PROS and CONS
- The internet isn’t always the source of VALID information
- Fake online-surgery reviews are not uncommon
- Your information may stay online indefinitely (and likely will)
- You may later wish you hadn’t posted graphic photos (may help to use discretion and taste in your photographs or to post anonymously/de-identified)
That noted, when enough patients share their experiences in consumer forums, others seem to enjoy reading about them and learning what they can from them.
And today, consumer-to-consumer information sharing is far more prevalent than patient-doctor communication – consumers trust each other more than they do website information.
Plus, with celebrities and top social media “influencers” leading the way in talking about their surgical enhancements, it’s no longer taboo to share what you’ve had done.
Again, however, there are polarising public opinions on cosmetic surgery – and online sharing – that you should be aware of before you make your decision.
- As above, use discretion and taste in what you publish.
- Perhaps avoid publishing videos of when you’re coming out of surgery and under the influence of anaesthetic or pain relief medications – you may say something you wish you hadn’t!
- Think about the future including future employment, political ambitions or partners you might want to attract.
- Choose how you share, and with whom you share, carefully – ask your parents and friends for advice as it is likely they’ll have been asking themselves the same question(s) about their own surgery experiences.
- Make your OWN informed decisions taking into account ALL the information you have gathered, and your own instincts, about what’s right for you.
Pros and Cons of Telling Friends and Others You’re Having (or Had) Plastic Surgery
Family Beliefs, Genetic Traits and Cultural Beliefs may have an impact on your comfort with sharing your surgery experience.
Cultural ideals VARY from person to person about whether or not cosmetic surgery is the best option for certain individuals, or if people are not taking surgery seriously enough.
- Did you inherit your Father’s nose, but wish you hadn’t?
- Beware your parents may not appreciate your goal of changing your nose.
Keeping Plastic Surgery a Secret is harder in modern times.
- Whether you want to tell no one – or just your closest friends – having smartphones and tablets does increase the likelihood of others finding out, anyway.
- It’s normal human nature to want to SHARE information with others, even if we temporarily forget we’re supposed to keep it secret.
- (So ONLY tell friends you REALLY know can keep it secret, unless you really don’t mind who knows.)
Plus, we live in a digital age where NEWS travels at lightning speeds.
With everyone connected to everyone else thanks to the internet and social media, it may actually be harder to KEEP having plastic surgery a secret, even if you wanted to.
- IF you have facial surgery such as a Nose Job or Facelift
- OR wear something that reveals a surgery incision line (scar)
- THEN it may be harder to keep your surgery a total secret, even if you were so inclined.
The exceptions include some breast surgery, liposuction and Eyelid Lift (Blepharoplasty) surgery, the latter of which – done properly by an eyelid Surgeon such as Dr Patrick Briggs can leave you looking refreshed and rested, but not ‘overdone’ or ‘pulled.’
“Will everyone know I’ve had Cosmetic Surgery, even if I DON’T tell anyone?” is a frequently heard question.
- It depends on what you’re starting with and what you’re having done.
- The skill of your Surgeon and the size of breast implants for an Augmentation (or the degree of difference in your nose after a Rhinoplasty) may be more visible than some other procedures such as a breast lift or upper arm reduction.
Remember, if you post your story online because you’re happy with your surgery results, everyone might know, even if you later delete your photos. Because DIGITAL is INDEFINITE in terms of time, even if you later delete them – someone might have downloaded them from your Instagram or Facebook account.
Good surgery looks natural. So not everyone will be able to tell you’ve had plastic surgery of your breasts, body, eyelids or face.
- But it DOES depend on what you’re starting with and where your scars will be.
- Some people may be more attuned to noticing telltale signs you’ve had surgery, such as a scar, or a more ample cleavage than you had before, or a smoother jawline if you’ve had a facelift and/or double chin injections to reduce your chin fat.
- Others may be less observant.
- Natural-looking results are a tenant of our Surgeon aims, such as the Mini-Boob Job procedure.
- But some people actually WANT a very noticeable result, such a very large, glamorous breast augmentation result.
- Discuss your GOALS and expectations with your SURGEON – in detail – before proceeding.
Good cosmetic & plastic surgery results DO look natural, in our opinion.
- Your Surgeon’s skills are very important in getting a good result.
- There are also other factors to consider if you want a more natural-looking result, such as breast augmentation or breast lift.
- How much skin and fat you have before surgery WILL also tend to impact what your surgery results WILL look like – and how much the change might be noticeable to others.
- There are also scars, although we do offer a Transaxillary (Armpit) Approach to inserting breast implants for first-time breast augmentations.
- Sometimes fat grafting or fat grafting/liposuction fat transfer to breasts – using liposuction – can increase the naturalness of a breast augmentation procedure.
- It’s unlikely everyone will be able to tell you’ve had surgery, but it DOES depend on the procedure, where it is on the body, and what you wear.
- Results also depend on your body fat levels, your skin health, your scar formation tendencies and, for breast augmentation, the breast implant size and natural tissue distribution.
Education Helps ALL – just double-check the authority of your sources, and read LOTS!
- We are all for patients getting better educated and understanding processes, recovery times and cosmetic surgery risks.
- We are also adamant patients read ALL they can to learn more about their procedures – including talking with experts and others who’ve had the procedure.
- Be sure you understand the differences in types of surgeons and watch the ABC’s Four Corners report.
Individual Comfort vs Social Expectations
Surgery is serious and has risks. Only have surgery for yourself – never to meet an ideal or to please another.
Know that, despite varying social acceptance rates of having surgery to improve your looks, cosmetic surgery research suggests that confidence and quality of life – DOES improve for many patients who’ve had plastic surgery, such as Breast Augmentation, Eyelid Surgery or Nose Reshaping Surgery.
- Not all patients FEEL a lot better about themselves after surgery, but a large percentage, state they DO.
- The key is a good result from surgery is to
- maintain your ideal weight,
- have your head in the right space,
- stay realistic about what surgery CAN – and CAN’T – accomplish
- know that having surgery can be an emotional time – get help if you need to and keep your expectations realistic.
You’ll also need to ensure that you follow all advice from your surgical team.
But cosmetic surgery results CAN vary. Plus, what you START with, matters. So keep it real!
So…can you or can’t you HIDE the fact you’ve had surgery – and which friends should you tell?
There are many factors that lead to visible tell-tale signs of surgery, some you can minimise, and some you can’t.
- It often looks more natural, for example, if you choose the right size implants for your body frame for your breast augmentation, rather than the overly large ‘gold coast’ or ‘Bondi’ look style of breast implants.
- But some traces of having surgery are visible and some are less so, and each person can vary on how they heal (or scar).
- And YES, your closest friends or partner may be able to guess, even if you don’t tell them; particularly if they know you – and your body – extremely well.
- Again, surgery DOES leave visible incision line marks, especially if you have an Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck). Just ask us how we minimise them as we use state of the art technology to minimise your scarring.
Your surgery scars MAY be visible to everyone, especially in swimsuit season – or for facial surgery, eyelid lift surgery and nose surgery. But if you aim for natural, not everyone will know.
Unless, of course, you share EVERYTHING about your cosmetic surgery on social media, or try to use sick leave for cosmetic surgery.
- Choose wisely – choose both your SURGEON and your SOCIAL MEDIA PHOTO POSTING habits carefully.
- Give adequate thought to WHICH friends you’ll fill in on what you’re having done.
- We suggest you AIM for tasteful photos if you DO share your experiences online.
- Think not only about today, and tomorrow – think about the distant future.
Most importantly, DON’T risk revealing a botched cosmetic surgery result or sad story online, by CHOOSING the wrong TYPE of Doctor to operate. Watch the FOUR CORNERS report on the Cosmetic Surgery industry featuring NON-Specialist Plastic Surgeons.
Genuine Plastic Surgeons have extensive training and experience – look for FRACS plus ASPS/ASAPS and ISAPS.
Because your results ARE going to be on display, whether others are aware that you had surgical enhancements or cosmetic injections (or not), DO choose a reputable, highly respected Surgeon and Clinic who takes pride in the quality of their results.
- Choose a Plastic Surgeon who is dedicated to Best Practice Care and custom surgical planning, not a discount one-surgery-size-fits-all ‘production line shop’
- Ask your Specialist if they also include post-op Garments and Scar minimisation treatments, as these improve your results
- For example, there’s Healite II, Dermapen or lasers to reduce the visibility of the incision lines – these can really help reduce your incision line marks or scars.
Choose wisely, because you WON’T want to end up feeling embarrassed about your choice of Surgeon, if you get a very botched result.
- A holiday surgery experience might SOUND good, but it’s very risky for many reasons. Be sure to read our blogs about avoiding botched cosmetic surgery and the dangers of medical tourism.
- Also be wary of falling for misleading advertising promoted by discounted breast surgery doctors who perform ‘breast augmentation‘ or liposuction, but who DO NOT actually have the right qualifications to be recognised as a Specialist Plastic Surgeon.
- Many are just GPs or Skin Doctors, not FRACS (they haven’t necessarily undertaken the rigorous training or surgical exams of a genuine Plastic Surgeon).
Offering genuine FRACS Specialist Plastic Surgeons at our Melbourne Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Clinic and in Sydney.
DO aim to choose a genuine, APHRA recognised Specialist Plastic Surgeon, who genuinely has FRACS (Plastic) status and hospital operating rights. You can check with AHPRA; they should also, ideally, hold current memberships with ASAPS/ISAPS and/or ASPS (or FACS).
- A FRACS (Plastic) Surgeon will often have more advanced training and experience than your average GP or Dermatologist (skin doctor) who didn’t study or qualify as a Specialist in Plastic, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery.
- The term Cosmetic Surgeon is NOT protected, and can mean just about anything.
Remember, Cosmetic Surgeons and Plastic Surgeons are not the same.
- Because most consumers are confused about the different types of doctors who perform surgery, Australian governments and Medical boards are trying to help warn patients to overcome confusion that exists about different types of doctors who perform ‘cosmetic surgery’ – particularly those who call themselves a ‘cosmetic surgeon’ but who are NOT Plastic, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgeons.
- Many doctors offering Cosmetic Surgery or discount breast augmentation procedures are actually NOT genuine Plastic Surgeons.
- Many also do NOT hold operating privileges in Australian hospitals (they can typically ONLY perform back room surgery, often under Twilight Anaesthesia – ‘awake’ surgery…but how frightening for something as extensive as Liposuction or a Breast Reduction?!).
The term Plastic Surgeon can only used by people who have passed rigorous examinations after approximately 14 years of training. This type of Surgeon has often made cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery their life’s work. They didn’t just get a basic medical degree or study something else, and then start operating.
So…should I tell my colleagues about having plastic surgery? My friends? My Instagram followers?
There is NO one best answer.
Everyone needs to make their own decision. It’s entirely up to YOU who you tell and who you don’t. However, we’re going to point out a few PROS and CONS of telling others about having surgery.
- We also suggest you make the decision a considered one, rather than a spontaneous one.
- And feel free to leave a comment about your OWN experiences telling others about having plastic surgery.
Social norms have changed drastically about sharing surgery experiences, online. Talking about having cosmetic surgery is increasingly common, with many individuals adding their personal stories to online forums or digital reviews.
Before telling others about having cosmetic surgery, recognise there are essentially 3 different ways to do so, if you’re so inclined.
- GOING GLOBAL: announcing it to the world using social media platforms and photo sharing, such as Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook
- Unless you really are happy for everyone in the world to know, consider the potential consequences of your surgery results coming up in a search by a future employer – we suggest being very tasteful in what you post.
- Even if you have a FRIENDS ONLY privacy setting on your social media accounts, recognise that anything you post COULD be downloadable or shareable and that posts can stay online for an indefinite period of time, even if you delete them;
- You could discuss your experiences online in a forum using an ALIAS to hide your identity, but even so, privacy might not be guaranteed in digital spaces.
Who tends to post everything online, including BEFORE and AFTER photos:
Social Media Influencers, Celebrities with stories, and individuals who are extremely body proud after having surgery and who want the world to know. For some, it’s like a status symbol, for others, a way to get attention; and for many, it’s how they choose to share their results so that others have greater insight into which Surgeon they might choose.
- TELLING FRIENDS & FAMILY ONLY: telling your closest friends, your partner and/or spouse
- You could tell your friends or partner, verbally and in person, without sending before or after photos or other texts which could be shared, always a risk if a friend becomes a ‘frenemy’;
- If you’re suddenly out of action for a few weeks while you heal, or can’t attend gym class for six weeks, friends are also likely to wonder why – and ask you directly – anyway.
- Friends can also be a huge support during your healing and recovery period if they are on board with your decision making and support.
SHARING WITH COLLEAGUES: telling your work colleagues and/or your Manager WHY you’re taking time away from work
- You will need to let your manager know that you need time off, in advance (this usually requires a LEAVE form).
- If you’re having functional surgery, rather than purely cosmetic (e.g., Eyelid surgery to reduce ptotic eyelids that interfere with vision, OR repair of torn ABS after pregnancy), you MAY be able to ask for SICK LEAVE – as well as ANNUAL LEAVE if needed
- But for cosmetic surgery, your SICK LEAVE is usually not applicable – check your Organisational Policy or ask your Manager.
- Plus – if you use a SICK LEAVE form, although it doesn’t say the Clinic Name or what surgery you’ve had, someone at the office could – theoretically – recognise the type of Surgeon (or look it up), but if they then tell others, it’s a major breach of privacy.
- Read our blog “Can You Use Sick Leave for Cosmetic Surgery?“
Of course, if some of your workmates are also connected with you on your Facebook, Instagram or YouTube account, OR are Friends of Friends, they could STILL find out you’ve had cosmetic plastic surgery.
And if you tell ONE person in your office, or ONE friend who has a wider circle, recognise the news is likely going to get out across your social networks anyway. Often, the news travels inadvertently, when a friend asks another friend of theirs if they know a good Breast Surgeon or Facelift and Eyelid Surgeon.
It just happens.
And of course, if you’re discussing your experiences on the phone while commuting on a public train, tram or bus – well, who KNOWS who will hear you and what they’ll discover – or who they might know?
Remember…it’s a small world.
Small world, big surgery sharing radius.
Here is why surgery sharing trends about cosmetic procedures HAVE risen in recent years:
- Celebrity Trends – we don’t even need to say the “K” word
- Online Forums – patients want to hear from OTHER patients, not Doctors
- Phones – it’s too easy to take and upload PHOTOS & VIDEOS these days – who can resist a selfie?
And there’s no holds barred, from talking about a labiaplasty, vaginal laser treatment or a tummy tuck, to fully revealing one’s new upper body curves after a breast augmentation, reduction or breast lift.
But again, talking about Surgery really a PERSONAL choice, and a PERSONAL decision.
So in summary, it really is a very PERSONAL DECISION as to who you tell, and what you share, when you’re having surgery.
Although there HAS been a marked increase in people openly discussing their cosmetic surgery experiences AND sharing their photos and their thoughts, that doesn’t mean you need to follow suit.
Do what’s right for you.
Read our top plastic surgery blogs for tips about how to tell your parents, partner/spouse or friends you are having – or have had – plastic surgery.
Continue reading the PROS and CONS of telling friends and colleagues about having cosmetic surgery (posting soon).
Visit our Downloadable Guides pages
For more information about Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery options and research in Australia.
Download our free guides or phone 1300 264 811 today – and ask for a no-obligation consultation.
This was part 1 of 2 blogs. Not everyone will understand WHY you are wanting to have a cosmetic or plastic surgery procedure. You could even experience some polarising discussions about your surgery aims. These days, however, patients often find close friends and partners supportive of their decisions to have surgery, so long as you’ve done your research and they take time to understand the WHYS. Even so, telling friends and family members about having cosmetic surgery is a very personal decision. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to telling others about your surgery experiences. There are, however, helpful tips for telling a parent, spouse, friend or colleague that you’re finally having the plastic surgery procedure you’ve been researching for a very long time. (Read part 2 – Can You Use Sick Leave for Cosmetic Surgery?)