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Will plastic surgery save your marriage?

Jamie Beckman is the lead blogger for the Sexcerpts blog on SheKnows.com. She has written about relationships, health and lifestyle trends for Redbook, USA TODAY, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Best Life and First for Women magazines, as w...

A doc dishes on women and nip/tucks

More women than ever are having plastic surgery now, but is it because they feel pressure to "keep" their husbands? One plastic surgeon says no. Instead, according to Dr. Richard E. Carlino, MD, women say they're tweaking their appearances to feel better about themselves. Here's the dish on who's getting what done — and how their partners are responding.

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Popular procedures

Dr. Carlino, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, says more women than ever are having plastic surgery. Specifically, he says, women are fighting the aging process, including sunspots and wrinkles around the eyes "to look on the outside how they feel on the inside." Popular procedures? Skin texture–refining laser treatments like Pixel Perfect and other aesthetic laser treatments like Accent XL for cellulite and skin tightening are on the top of the list, but the doc maintains that keeping up appearances for their husbands isn't usually the reason women want surgery.

Top trends in anti-aging treatments >>

Plastic surgery and marriage

One of Dr. Carlino's patients, a married woman named Jane*, echoed his sentiments. She got Botox, filler, CO2 laser skin resurfacing and an eyelid lift because she wanted to look younger — but her husband was initially against her getting the surgery. In fact, she says, it caused problems in their relationship. "It became a huge battle between us," Jane said. "He didn't feel I needed anything [done]."

Jane says, post-surgery, she feels she looks a whopping 17 years younger. So did Jane's hubby eventually come around? "He thought I looked prettier but he couldn't figure out why," she said. "I do feel more attractive. It didn't really do much for the relationship, however."

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Dr. Carlino answered a few of our questions about plastic surgery trends for married women — and what questions every woman should ask herself before she goes under the knife:

Do married women's reasons for undergoing surgery include keeping their husband's interest?

"Very rarely is it for their spouse. At least that is not verbalized. The majority of the time, the husband is not in favor of the surgery or procedure due to the costs. They later say they would have urged them on years earlier.... We try to ensure [the patients'] motives are appropriate. They have the surgery or laser procedure to fight the effects of pregnancy, age and gravity. Basically, it is to feel better about themselves, because [they] don't recognize the woman in the mirror. It is not primarily for their husbands — it's about getting back some of that sparkle.

Have you seen an increase lately in married women who want surgery or cosmetic improvements?

"The economy clearly affects the frequency of cosmetic procedures. Increase in surgery may be due to wider acceptance in cosmetic surgery. Women in general are looking more for non-invasive procedures such as Botox, fillers and laser procedures. We're seeing people opt for more tweaks, definitely, but it has nothing to with marital status."

What precautions would you urge a married woman to take before she chooses to have a cosmetic procedure?

"Everyone contemplating elective cosmetic surgery needs to do their homework. They should have all of their ducks in a row and not be borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, should be at the right place in life — emotionally, financially, physically — and should not adhere to the philosophy that it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission. Have your spouse involved in the process."

"Women should be sure they are doing any [procedure] for themselves.... There is, however, a healthy side to [having a spouse as a motive for cosmetic surgery]. A woman may have all of the right motives including doing it for herself and her husband. In a healthy relationship, both individuals should have a stake in the process."

*Name has been changed

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