If you have a loved one who’s talked about wanting cosmetic surgery, your first response may not immediately be supportive. However, it’s important to remember that the reasons that people decide to undergo cosmetic surgery are as varied as the individuals themselves. The industry is booming, and breast augmentations are one of the most common procedures. If this isn’t something you’ve ever considered for yourself, it can be difficult to understand why your loved one wants to change themselves in this way. Here are a few of the reasons people have stated undergoing breast augmentations or breast reductions. Read on, and see if you can’t use this information as a conversation-starter with your loved one.

Reconstruction After Surgery

Breast cancer leaves scars that are both physical and psychological. For some cancer survivors, living with the reminder of a mastectomy is a badge of honor, but for others, it serves as a painful reminder of a traumatic event. While reconstructive surgery on breast tissue can’t replace the breast that was lost, it can restore a sense of balance and provide a sense of confidence and normalcy.

Moving Toward Gender Confirmation

If your loved one is a transgender individual, breasts can be a major source of distress. While not all trans people experience gender dysphoria, for those who do, surgery on the breasts can be a hugely affirming option. Breast augmentations for trans women and bilateral mastectomies (colloquially referred to as “top surgery”) for those who seek them not only help them move toward a fuller sense of identity, but also mitigate the skin and tissue damage of procedures like chest binding for trans men. If this is the kind of care your loved one is seeking, make sure that the plastic surgeons they’re meeting with are mindful and compassionate of the specific care needed for trans individuals.

Psychological Benefits and Self-Esteem

While this reason is one of the broadest, most sweeping reasons your loved one might be considering cosmetic surgery, it’s no less valid or important than those who undertake it for medical reasons. Sometimes, the answer is as simple as your loved one not being satisfied with their body and wanting to take steps to make the change. Whether they feel as though they never developed the breasts they wanted to feel feminine or beautiful, or they feel awkward and uncomfortable with breasts that they feel are too large for their frame, plastic surgeons are making people feel more confident with their bodies. This confidence, in turn, can lead to greater self-esteem and a push to lead a healthier lifestyle, allowing your loved one to become the person they always wanted to be.

Regardless of the reason the person in your life chose to undergo cosmetic surgery, you should feel grateful that they chose to trust you with sensitive, personal information. Armed with the knowledge of why some people choose to go under cosmetic surgery, hopefully, you’ll feel better equipped to have a supportive, honest conversation about how you can help your loved one in the coming days, up to and including helping them vet potential plastic surgeons