No place like home for the holidays, especially following plastic surgery

January 6, 2012

Don’t be surprised if many friends and neighbors return from the holidays looking very “refreshed.”
Don’t be surprised if many friends and neighbors return from the holidays looking very “refreshed.”

If your friend, who is usually the life of the party, rejects your invitations in favor of “chilling out” at home for the holidays, she may have a private agenda. Instead of writing the great American novel, mastering Nintendo or eluding the FBI, she may be oozing into bandages, applying ice packs and waiting for her bruises to progress from red to purple to green to yellow. No, her husband didn’t beat her and she is not retiling the bathroom. Instead, she is using the holiday lull for self-beautification. Her home has become a “safe house.” She is in hiding, recovering from plastic surgery or a less invasive procedure, such as a chemical peel, microdermabrasion or laser treatment.

According to the Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2011, “After many cosmetic procedures patients want to go underground during the days-long recovery period. The holiday season makes it easier to avoid interacting with others at work or in school car pools.”

Many are opting for Fraxel this year, which promises to deliver youth by removing freckles and dark spots with a laser. Traci Slatton, a 48-year-old New York writer endured this procedure, which, in her words, “feels like heated rubber bands snapping against your skin” to face four or five days in which her skin had the potential to be swollen, red and scabby. She had the procedure during Christmas break so she would not have to worry about bumping into other parents while dropping off her daughter at school.

Plastic surgeons may have to deal with unhappy wives in December. The wives may fly solo at holiday parties while their husbands wield scalpels into the early evening hours.  A Houston plastic surgeon says this month has been his busiest ever. In December he performed about 20 surgeries a week, which is twice what he does in other months. The most popular plastic surgeries in December are those, like facelift, which require the most time for healing.

December is also the month in which you may be likely to plan other elective surgeries simply because, by then, you may have met your insurance plan’s annual deductible. Bariatric surgery can cost about $35,000, including hospital charges. Michael H. Wood, medical director of the bariatric surgery program at Harper University Hospital says, “Patients do want to fly under the radar and they can do that during the holidays.”

The time will come when plastic surgery and its less invasive counterparts are so commonplace that people wear their bruises openly in public. Until then, you can anticipate that many of your friends and neighbors will return from the holidays looking very “refreshed.”


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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