Plastic Surgery For Graduation: Bad Present. Good Timing.


This is the time of year when we starting getting graduation announcements from our friends and their children who are graduating from high school and college. We’re thinking about what to get them and a gift card to buy books for college seems to be a pretty good and safe gift. As you might imagine, doing what I do, I occasionally get questions or inquiries about plastic surgery as a graduation present. Is this a good gift? Generally, I would probably say, no.

My Graduation Gift Philosophy
Philosophically, I have never been a believer of rewarding my kids with gifts or money for getting good grades.  Just as my job is to do good work in the operating room, I believe a student’s job is to do the best work he or she can in school.  It seems to me that giving someone an operation for graduation (and let’s face it, this is going to come from the Mom and Dad and not dear old uncle Clem), is sort of the same thing.  We’re giving a big reward for doing what we had hoped they would do.

Don’t get me wrong, graduation is a milestone and one that should be honored. Inviting the family in from out of town to celebrate and honoring the grad is definitely the way to go. What we gave each of our kids when they graduated from high school was a family trip and they got to decide where to go. We all had great experiences and have wonderful memories from these travels. They’re some of our best family times ever!

The Timing Benefit of Post-Graduation Procedures
While I do not think that plastic surgery is a good graduation present, per se, sometimes this can be good timing. Let me explain: let’s say that there is something that your child really wants to change about their appearance, something they and you have been thinking about, something that they have a realistic attitude about, and something that seems to be a reasonable thing to do.  The interval between high school and college, for instance, can be a very good time to do this, because it will bring less attention to the fact that your child has had something done.  As they move on to college, or a new career, they will be among a different group of people on a day to day basis.  A group who didn’t really know what this feature of their body looked like before.  So, there wouldn’t be as many of the “Did you see what Ashley had done last summer?  OMG!” type of comments.

Here’s the bottom line: If your child is going to have something done which is reasonable, have it done. But not because they have graduated, rather because it is a sensible thing to do.  The break between high school and college can be a great time to do it without bringing any more notice to themselves than necessary.

All the best,

David B.

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Knoxville Plastic Surgeon