Is Plastic Surgery the new Graduation gift?
Ah, graduation: Flipping that tassel can stir up all sorts of feels. Which is why the milestone has long ushered in a languorous time of self-discovery and reinvention. But, today, it seems, recent grads are more likely to “find themselves” in doctors’ offices than on the road, Kerouac style. “Cosmetic treatments as graduation gifts are definitely on the rise, and in my experience, they’re not without merit,”. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, millennials aged 19-34 accounted for 17.6 percent of the total aesthetic procedures performed in 2016.
Underlying the celebratory procedures is an intended confidence boost, or stubborn body bulges that even a healthy diet and regular exercise can’t bust. “Modern parents are very open to helping their children feel good about their bodies, especially when the downtime and risks are so minimal, and the results can really increase self-confidence,”
The transition from college to career — and that (potential) break in between — also allows for more significant transformations, granting the downtime they may demand. “Rhinoplasty [a.k.a. a nose job] is a huge graduation gift before starting a new career. Those footing the bill — usually parents or grandparents — often tell Liotta that the patient has forever been preoccupied by how his or her nose looks at certain angles, and they want their loved one to “enter into the next phase of life feeling confident and strong,” she says. An equally sought-after surgery for grads is otoplasty, which “involves reducing the angle between the ears and scalp, and can also make the ears smaller, or recreate their natural curves,” the procedure tends to relieve the psychological distress experienced by many with prominent ears.
According to Lara Devgan, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon in New York City, breast augmentation and reduction, , are among the most common parent-bestowed grad gifts. “When kids are getting ready to make a change, and meet a new set of people, some degree of reinvention is inevitable, and plastic surgery can be a part of that, especially for those with lingering insecurities,”, noting that such face- or body-altering gifts are generally well thought-out decisions — carefully arrived at by parents and children together — rather than what-do-you-get-the-graduate-who-has-everything impulse buys.
And, really, if a sparkling self-image and sense of assurance are one’s ultimate destination, does it really matter what path we take to get there?