Plastic surgery reversal: why Victoria Beckham and other celebrities have done it, what can and can’t be reversed, and why it’s so popular in 2022
- Surgeons say plastic surgery reversals are on the rise, with procedures to reverse Brazilian butt lifts, breast implants, foxy eyes and rhinoplasty most popular
- Some reversals are easier than others – breast implants can be easily removed, for example, but reversing reshaping procedures such as facelifts are far harder
People undergo cosmetic procedures to change the way their faces, features or bodies look permanently.
Some, however, come to regret going under the knife, even when the results are exactly what they expected. They may then decide to undergo a plastic surgery reversal, a procedure that, according to many surgeons, is on the rise in 2022.
What is plastic surgery reversal?
A plastic surgery reversal differs from a revision in that revisions happen when the results are not as expected or there is a mishap that needs to be fixed.
“With reversals, the desired result was achieved, but the patient no longer wants that result,” US-based plastic surgeon Dr Umbareen Mahmood says.
The rise in the number of procedures can be attributed to constantly changing beauty standards, the evolution of cultural trends and a shift in people’s personal aesthetic preferences.
Although reversals are mostly possible depending on the original procedure, they’re not easy and the results are not always exactly as they were pre-surgery.
The types of reversal and their complexity
Reversals are more or less complicated based on the type of procedure you got in the first place.
With implants, for example – such as breast augmentation, breast lifts, buttock lifts, and chin, cheek or jaw reshaping – an outside element is being placed inside your body to achieve a new shape or size.
If you’re not happy with the look after a few years, a surgeon can find ways to remove the implant and work on the excess skin if necessary.
With cosmetic removals such as liposuction, body contouring, abdominoplasty and breast reduction, a doctor extracts fat, skin or tissue from your body and then rearranges the surrounding area to match the new look.
In these cases, it’s impossible to simply insert back what was previously removed, but there are ways to work with certain implants to try and mimic the original form.
The most complex reversal procedures involve reshaping procedures, such as facelifts, eyebrow lifts, cheek shaping, eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty and fox-eye lifts.
When getting facial surgery, fat, tissue or cartilage will either be removed or pulled to achieve a new build, so trying to go back may not be possible or could leave you with noticeable scars.
In 2022, reversals are on the rise
While surgery reversals are not new, many surgeons say they’ve never received as many requests for them as they have in 2022.
Dr Paul Banwell, a UK-based cosmetic surgeon and visiting professor of plastic surgery at Harvard Medical School in the US, told website Refinery29 that “reversals are not something we commonly needed to perform previously”.
He explains that, just as cosmetic surgery has its risks, so does trying to reverse it. “This is a potential disaster waiting to happen as significant fluctuations in volume to tissues can result in laxity and a poor aesthetic outcome.”
Some celebrities have recently opened up about their experiences with surgery and their regrets about it.
In early October, Chloe Lattanzi – Olivia Newton-John’s daughter – admitted she had had around US$550,000 worth of plastic surgery done. However, at 36, she’s now aiming for a more natural look.
To achieve her goal, she’s had her facial fillers dissolved and will have her breast implants‚ which she got as a teenager, extracted so that her breasts not only look more natural, but she can avoid the potential harm the implants could do to her body.
“I wish I had kept the nose of my ancestors,” she says. “I think I would have grown into it.”
In her case, going back to her old features via surgery is not an easy task, which is why she’s decided not to try a reversal.
Former Spice Girls member turned fashion designer Victoria Beckham denied getting breast implants for years. However, in 2014, she finally came clean and revealed she did get breast implants.
She added that she got them removed and replaced with a smaller size after a few years, as she felt the original ones didn’t match her frame.
The recent wave of requests for surgery reversals should hopefully act as a warning to future generations so that they think twice before choosing cosmetic surgery and make sure it is what they want.
If they decide it is, then it’s crucial to “avoid falling into the trap of Instagram and TikTok beauty trends”, says US-based plastic surgeon Dr Ashley Gordon.
“The best way to maintain a natural look that ages well is to go for subtle, timeless tweaks that dovetail with your anatomy and identity,” she says.