Find out why more couples are engaging in cosmetic plastic surgery together than ever before.

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It’s official: The plastic surgery industry is growing. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), cosmetic surgery procedures have increased by 197 per cent since 1997. Men now account for more of that total than ever, with a 43 per cent increase in male procedures overall. This has given rise to an emerging trend: couples engaging in enhancement and anti-aging procedures together.

Behind the Trend

“We are witnessing this trend first-hand,” says Dr. Quinton Chivers, MD, FRCSC, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Clinic 360 in Toronto. “It’s becoming more and more popular. Many couples come in before special events, such as weddings, anniversaries and birthdays, and before holidays for various procedures.”

Dr. Julie Khanna, MD, FRCSC a plastic surgeon in Oakville, Ont., and the current president-elect of the Canadian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (CSAPS), agrees. “It’s very common to have men come into the office because they like the results their wives have had and they think, ‘Well, I could do that.’ At this point, they’re familiar with the office, the procedures, the recovery. They’re less intimidated and more open to talking about it.”

Getting It Together

So what treatments are couples most likely to engage in together? “They opt for a range of procedures,” says Dr. Chivers. “Breast surgery, tummy tucks and various facial procedures are popular among women, while men typically request small amounts of body contouring or hair transplantation.”

Dr. Khanna says she has also observed that blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, is a procedure many couples are likely to get one after the other, if not at the same time. “I think when you see a person go through something and see that they’re really happy with the results, and that perhaps the recovery wasn’t as bad as you thought it to be, it becomes less scary. This tends to happen a lot with couples and eyelid surgery, and it gives men the opportunity to talk about it and ask questions.”

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Doing It Right

There are definite benefits to engaging in plastic surgery with your partner at your side. “When a couple does this at the same time, they have each other for support,” says Dr. Chivers. “Each partner knows what the other person is going through, so there is a level of understanding.” Plus, he says, since some surgical procedures require a period of time to be taken off work, the couple can recuperate together. “Many people only have two or three weeks of vacation in a year, and this way they don’t have to take separate vacations. They can both kick up their heels and relax together.”

However, couples should always be sure that they’re engaging in procedures together for the right reasons. “If both people in the relationship place the same value on appearance, then I think it works,” says Dr. Nicole McCance, a Toronto-based relationship expert and psychologist, adding that she believes it is healthy to want to enhance yourself, provided it’s not linked to a sense of self-worth. “The moment you tell a partner that you really think they need to go out and do something cosmetic, you’re imposing it on them. It’s like imposing any value on another person that they don’t share: It can cause friction.”

If you really feel your partner could use some enhancing, starting with yourself may be the best way to send a message. “What I have seen is if one person is doing certain things in terms of cosmetic enhancement and feeling great, looking great and having more confidence, it can help the other person make their own choice,” says Dr. McCance. “Focus on yourself, do it for yourself and possibly you’ll inspire your partner.”

According to data collected by ASAPS, male breast reduction procedures increased by 33 per cent since 2010. Breast reduction is also a procedure that couples are likely to consider engaging in together.