THE BLOG

What's the Deal With "Revenge Surgery"?

20/06/2013 11:41 BST | Updated 19/08/2013 10:12 BST

Breakups are tough- that's not news. But a new trend for getting back at your ex via the surgeons knife is hitting headlines in a big way. Are divorcees changing faces to save face?

A quick Twitter Q&A suggests that the average woman plucks for new underwear and a change in hair colour after a break-up. Men talk about "just getting on with it." And a cautious few give whispers of, Well... I actually got my boobs/nose/chin done after my divorce.

It's a growing response to common heartbreak. According to figures by Transform Plastic Surgery Group, in the UK 26% of cosmetic treatment patients are divorced women, and 11% men. In the US those figures are even higher.

At my clinic, Courthouse Clinics, we've seen Botox- especially male Botox, called Brotox- rise over 40% the past year, and divorce is a leading contributing factor.

I've written before about how high separation and divorce rates are bringing more people onto the market, and so they want to improve their chances. Data from our patients shows treatments such as Botox increases their confidence, mood, and self-esteem.

For some, though, post-breakup transformation goes much deeper than anti-ageing. Writing for CNN, Dr Anthony Youn tells the story of a woman called Carol who walked into his Detroit office and declared: "I want to enlarge my breasts, flatten my tummy, lift my neck and skinny my thighs. Oh, and I want my eyes to tilt like Megan Fox's, and I want you to plump my lips like Angelina Jolie's."

When Dr Youn asked Carol why she wanted such a sizeable amount of work done she explained, a little sheepishly, "Because. My husband left me for a younger woman. And I want revenge."

Investigation reveals that the vindication both men and women give this quest is high. Real Housewife of Beverly Hills Brandi Glanville was so intent on seeking retribution after her husband Eddie Cibrian cheated on her with singer LeAnn Rimes that she underwent $12,000 worth of vaginal rejuvenation to feel like she "beat" the younger woman. Such lengths are not rare.

Youn reports that in his experience the largest proportion of new divorcees are seeking a "back on the market" cosmetic enhancement, or looking to get the procedure that previous partners might otherwise have frowned upon. It is, I believe, a journey of empowerment, a way of "fixing" the broken insides by changing the outside.

But a very small minority of cases are indeed designed to make ex-spouses or partners jealous. The Daily Mail says: "They simply wish to show their ex what they have lost- and what they are missing."

Divorce and separation ranks on the Holmes and Rahe stress scale as one of the most stressful events a person can ever go through, and Dr Youn is keen to highlight the ethics of treating patients who have recently been through the trauma.

"When I see newly divorced patients in my office, I encourage them to hold off on plastic surgery until they are in a good mental state," he says.

Dr Brent Moelleken recently appeared on "The Dr Oz Show" to talk about post-divorce surgery, where he said: "Hopefully people aren't actually out for revenge. But it never hurts to look great."

"It's never a good idea to have plastic surgery for somebody else, only for yourself."

What's your take on this? Is changing the way you look after a breakup a no-no, or the way to go? Let me know in the comments below.