Although I have many patients who come to my office for cosmetic procedures before and after their divorces, there is one story that always stands out. A long time patient of mine asked if I could help her sister. Her sister was in her 40’s and was married for 20 years to a man she had first dated as a freshman in college. He had become increasingly abusive and unfaithful over the years but she was afraid to leave.
She feared after all of these years she was too old and physically unattractive to ever meet anyone else and she still had three teenage children to care for. My patient, the rest of her family and friends wanted to do an intervention to show this woman that they would help her to get out of what they considered to be an emotionally dangerous marital situation. They wanted me to help them convince her that the low esteem she had about her physical appearance could be easily corrected. Her three sisters and her 19 year old daughter and 2 friends convinced her to come to my office to get a yearly skin cancer check-up.
Once in my office the “team” told her that this was a cosmetic intervention. They told her that they wanted her to feel good about her appearance so she could feel confident enough to make changes in her life. They told her that they were going to pay for a series of non-invasive procedures that would give her the self esteem that she rightly deserved. She was so startled and then she started to cry. As I explained how these procedures required little or no downtime, she seemed amazed and started to smile. We talked about injectables to fill in her cheeks, Botox for the furrow between her eyes as well as the crow’s feet, the Fraxel laser for fine lines and sunspots on her face and chest, the V-Beam laser for the little red dilated blood vessels around her nose and sclerotherapy for what she described as “road maps” on her legs. We spoke about all of these improvements being for her and that this was not going to make her marriage better or guarantee her a boyfriend. She was so thrilled after all of these treatments. She was now comfortable with herself and with me. One day while in my office she told me that there was one thing that had always bothered her, but she was too embarrassed to talk about it.
She hated her hips, outer thighs and her knees. She always wore dresses and long skirts to hide these areas. With a little prodding she showed them to me. I told her that this was such a relatively easy thing to fix, using only local anesthesia. As my gift to her joined the intervention team and performed liposuction on her hips, thighs, knees as well as her neck and jowls.
I do not like to call these changes a “make-over” but she now can look at herself in the mirror and see the younger version of herself, which gave her more confidence. She did file for divorce several months later and 1 year later she met a man who appreciated her for both her inner and outer beauty. Yes, she does come to my office several times a year, but not for her new man – for herself.
Dr. Howard Sobel, Director – N.Y. lnstitute of Aesthetic Dermatology & Laser Surgery
Dr. Howard Sobel combines modern technology with thirty years of experience.
He is recognized by both New York Magazine and the Castle Connolly Guide on How To Find the Best Doctors in the New York, Metropolitan Area as one of New York’s premier cosmetic dermatologic surgeons for eleven consecutive years.
He has helped pioneer the union of dermatology with cosmetic