Reality TV star Heidi Montag—infamous for having 10 plastic surgery procedures in one day, including a breast augmentation that gave her a G cup—is looking to get a breast reduction, according to ABC News. The story looks at the issue of “buyer’s remorse” after plastic surgery and whether it is increasing.
Plastic surgeons surveyed have differing opinions.
Dr. Julius Few, a plastic surgeon in Chicago, thinks plastic surgery remorse is increasing. “I think in part it’s increasing because of the drop in reimbursement by insurance companies, which is driving doctors in other specialties into the plastic surgery market,” he says.
On the other hand, Dr. Timothy Miller, chief of plastic surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, says he’s only seen it a few times in his practice and that it is very rare.
Those who do have “buyer’s remorse” after plastic surgery procedures are likely troubled by deeper issues, according to psychologist Ann Kearney-Cooke, who specializes in weight and body image issues. “[The surgery] changes the look, but if you have a problem that you haven’t resolved, you’ll have a temporary positive feeling, but then something else is the problem,” she says.
The plastic surgeons did agree that regret following a cosmetic procedure can potentially be avoided if patients and doctors recognize and address the problem.
“I have a therapist who works in my practice,” says Dr. Few. “We know in plastic surgery that if somebody has undue stress, the risk of complication is higher.”
“Most plastic surgeons will tell patients to work out their problems—go talk to a psychiatrist or confide in somebody else,” says Dr. Miller.
Dr. Malcolm Roth, a plastic surgeon in Brooklyn, N.Y. also stresses how key communication between the patient and doctor is. “It’s really important that both the patient and the physician understand what the motivation is behind the surgery,” he says.