Wedding Beauty Makeovers: Cosmetic Surgery Before the Wedding

By Denise Mann

Here comes the bride . . .

And doesn't she look . . . buff?

And, come to think of it, the groom isn't looking too shoddy himself.

What gives?

Growing numbers of brides and grooms seem to be getting some nips here and some tucks there in advance of their big day.

"Obviously they have already won the other individual's heart, so cosmetic surgery before the wedding is more something they do to look their best on their wedding day and improve their self-esteem," says Atlanta-based plastic surgeon Foad Nohai, MD, immediate past president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the current president of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

"A lot of people are concerned about how they look in the pictures, because these will become family heirlooms," he says, adding that they also want to look good in the new bikinis they purchased for their romantic honeymoons.

Here's a look at some cosmetic surgery procedures that are popular among today's brides and grooms.

Injectables and Fillers Before the Wedding

Whether Botox or facial fillers such as Juvederm, many a bride-to-be is looking to get rid of frown lines or other wrinkles before her big day. This is especially true for brides in their late 20s, 30s or early 40s who are not candidates for more invasive facelifts just yet.

"In terms of timing for injectables or Botox," Nohai says, "I say two weeks before the big day, because sometimes you need to do a touch-up, and most people don't see the full effects of Botox, for example, for at least a week. It may take two weeks for swelling and bruises to heal, should they occur."

The bottom line? "Give yourself a couple of weeks, in case you need to get re-injected and/or for swelling and bruising to go away."

"The single most important thing before a wedding is getting Botox for under your arms," adds Mitchel Goldman, MD, medical director of La Jolla Spa MD in La Jolla, Calif. Botox is approved for severe underarm sweating, and many a nervous bride and groom will break a sweat on their big day. It will also allow a bride to pass down her expensive dress to her daughter —without sweat stains.

More Invasive Facial Cosmetic Surgery Before the Wedding

Some older brides may undergo a full facelift or eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), which removes excess skin, fat or muscle from the upper and lower eyelids, improving baggy skin under the eyes or sinking upper eyelids.

These are pretty invasive procedures. Dr. Scott Miller, a plastic surgeon based in La Jolla, Calif., advises, "If you are getting a facelift, give yourself a couple of months before the wedding."

Liposuction Before the Wedding

Whether low-carb, no-carb or even liquid fasts, pre-wedding diets seem to be mainstays for brides and grooms who are anxious to shed extra weight for their big day. But sometimes even with Herculean efforts, pockets of excess fat remain — especially where you don't want them. Think abdomen, hips, buttocks, back, thighs, knees, calves, ankles, upper arms, jowls, cheeks and neck.

It's liposuction to the rescue in these cases, says Nohai. "Many prospective brides — and grooms — get liposuction so they can look good in their gown and on their honeymoon."

"If you are planning to undergo liposuction before your wedding, do it about a month before to look great in your wedding gown," he says. "If you want to put on your bikini and show off your new figure, you need a month for bruising to go away, to be totally safe."

Body Contouring Before the Wedding

You have dropped more than 100 pounds as the result of gastric bypass, Lap Band or another form of bariatric surgery, and your whole world opened up. Your self-esteem improved, you began dating for the first time in years, and lo and behold, you are getting married!

Wedding Planning Resources

The problem? Excess flab and skin that will prevent you from looking your best in your wedding gown. The solution? Body contouring procedures such as tummy tucks , body lifts and panniculectomy (which removes hanging fat and skin). Plastic surgeons can also perform brachioplasty (arm lifts) to get rid of excess hanging fat on the arms. That sleeveless wedding dress of your dreams may actually be within your reach!

Right now the consensus is that body contouring procedures should be staged, for safety reasons, Nohai says. "Instead of one 12-14 hour operation, an individual may need two or three separate operations, with at least a few months in between, so that involves months of planning."

Breast Enhancement Before the Wedding

Breast implants are also popular among brides, says Miller. "For the most part, these are women who have always wanted breast enhancement, and something pushes them to do it, like wedding pictures and how they will look in their wedding gown," he says. "Give yourself at least a month between the surgery and the big day, for optimal results."

Skin Care Before the Wedding

"Certain things like facials or microdermabrasion can actually exacerbate acne," Goldman says. Microdermabrasion involves spraying tiny crystals on the skin to blast away dead skin, reduce fine lines, brown spots, mild acne scars and age spots. "The stress of a wedding is intense enough, so it can trigger breakouts all on its own."

Laser therapy with intense pulse light photorejuvenation done a month or three weeks before the wedding, however, can really help a bride's skin glow on her big day, he says. "This treatment helps reduce pores, gets rid of brown blotchiness and red blood vessels. It's not painful or incredibly costly."

Whatever you decide, enjoy your big day, because it goes by very quickly . . . but the benefits of your wedding makeover may last for many years, or even a lifetime.