Most of the time when I am blogging, I am focusing on the patient. And this is as it should be. However, today I am addressing people who accompany patients at the time of their consultation. It’s great when you come to the consultation, because you are an important part of the process even though the consultation is all about what the patient wants. But as I have said to many couples, surgery is a team sport and the caregiver or significant other is an important part of the team.
However, the issue for you in this situation is what do you say? When is it appropriate for input? How honest should you be (as in, does this dress make me look fat?)? Usually it’s the guys who are caught in this situation. And the most common example of this is when a guy accompanies his wife or girlfriend for a consultation for a breast augmentation. Exactly what are you supposed to say or do? So, guys, this blog’s for you.
It is absolutely true that a woman coming in for a breast augmentation or any other aesthetic operation, should be doing it for her, and not someone else. Your goal, in the consultation, as her “wingman” is to help her get what she wants. And sometimes this means helping her understand what she wants. Let’s face it, if she has brought you to this consultation, you mean a lot to her and so does your opinion.
Yes. There is a certain degree of awkwardness for both of you.
First of all, she is coming in to talk to a perfect stranger about a part of her body that she is unhappy with, and will then undress, be examined and photographed. Not always the most comfortable situation. And, as her guy you probably feel a bit of awkwardness in agreeing that she should have this or that done. Rest assured, that I and my staff will do all we can to make this whole process as easy and comfortable as possible. Invariably at some point in the consultation when we are talking about having surgery, the guy will say something like, “I love her just as she is and I don’t think she needs anything — but this is something that really bothers her.” Good; this is a great baseline position. But, that is totally non-helpful to her when she is trying figure out what size implant to use!
It’s a fine line.
So, what you should do is navigate a bit of a fine line where you are helping her with her decision, and not making her decision for her. Occasionally I will be in a consultation where the guy is trying to take over the discussion and trying to impose his desires on the patient. Not good! And I will do my best, in a kind way, to shut him down. Even if you are paying for this, dude, it’s her body and she will be the one to carry around those implants!
Give a supportive opinion when she is trying on sizers.
When we are working with sizers your goal should be to help the patient figure out what size breast implants will be best for her. So saying to her – as she is looking at her profile with some sizers in a bra that she is wearing, and she asks you what you think – “Well, honey, this is for you so whatever you want,” is not helpful. When invited to give your opinion, please do so. The very fact that you are here in the consultation means that your thoughts are important to her, and you and she have probably talked about this. You know a lot about her lifestyle, her personality and what she wants. And she is asking both for advice and support. (We have a page on our website all about picking the right breast implant size. Score some points and read it before you come in.)
So when she pulls her tee shirt over her bra with different sized implants, and she asks you what you think, please tell her. And do so in a supportive way, as most guys do. Be honest if you think one size looks better than another, or if you think she is going too big or not big enough. (I mean very few of us would say, “hey babe, that looks so much better than you have ever looked at any time in your entire life!) Granted, ultimately the decision is hers, but your opinion matters.
But don’t worry that I will leave you hanging, because I won’t. Part of my job in these situations is to set parameters within which we should stay. My staff and I are also trying to help her get what she wants (as long as it is doable).
The other important thing that you can do is to remind her of concerns she has mentioned to you, but which she may not have mentioned. In the mix of nervousness about the consultation, and excitement about changing her appearance in a very positive way, she may forget to mention something. There will always be time in the consultation to talk about other concerns or questions, so don’t be afraid to remind her of her concern at this point.
As her wingman, you are there to help her successfully complete her mission—to get what she wants. So, when she asks your opinion, go ahead and give it to her. It’s what she is asking you for.
All the best,
David B. Reath, MD
PS: Ladies, if you have any other suggestions for the guys that I missed, please add them in the comment section.Breast Augmentation
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