Is Plastic Surgery Worth it? – Psychological Effects From the Knife
Updated: Jul 21
Plastic surgery can often be a controversial topic. People often automatically think of Hollywood celebrities and stories in the media of plastic surgery gone wrong. Others believe people who choose to have a plastic surgery procedure are exposing themselves to unnecessary risks in the name of beauty. The decision to undergo plastic surgery is not to be taken lightly, as there are various risks and side effects related to different plastic surgery procedures, however, over the past decade plastic surgery has become more accessible, less expensive, and with advances in technology, it comes as no surprise that more men and women are electing to have cosmetic procedures.
Research has shown that plastic surgery can provide positive psychological effects on an individual’s body image and general self-esteem. It is extremely important as a plastic surgeon to consider why a patient desires to have the procedure, and what their expectations are in terms of results. There are times I recommend the patient to cease smoking due to higher risk of complications, or to continue to lose more weight for ideal results. It is important for a surgeon to understand the psychological side of a patient, and in some cases a surgeon may need to turn away a patient because they are not an ideal candidate for the procedure they are requesting and/or have unrealistic expectations about the results.
It is important for patients to be aware of everything that is involved, and know what to expect during the entire process. Most importantly though, a patient must realize that a plastic surgery procedure will not fix all of their problems. For patients who have realistic expectations and educate themselves on the process, a cosmetic procedure can be a positive experience that may improve their quality of life. This can lead to a renewed sense of confidence and control in their life. When someone is self-conscious about their appearance or specific part of their body, there is a tendency to hide and blend in, and this may hold them back in certain aspects of their life. However, after having plastic surgery procedure performed, people often gain renewed self-confidence and self-esteem.
Psychological Effects of Plastic Surgery
A report published by Clinical Psychological Science in March 2013 presented the results of a comparison controlled study that studied the outcomes of 544 patients who had elected to have a plastic surgery procedure, and 264 participants who were interested in having a plastic surgery procedure, but decided not to go through with it. The study followed up with the participants 3 month, 6 months, and one year after undergoing the procedure or contacting the clinic.
The study found that patients who underwent surgery to correct a feature they were unhappy with were more positive about their outcome than those who did not. These results revealed patients who had a plastic surgery procedure generally had a positive experience subsequently leading to an increased sense of confidence, attractiveness, well being, and quality of life. On the website RealSelf, a site in which people provide doctor reviews, patients share their treatment experiences and photos, and give opinions on which procedures are worthwhile. Overwhelmingly, the majority of patients feel that the plastic procedure they elected to have was well worth it. With nearly 15,000 reviews on breast augmentation, 98% of patients felt the procedure was worthwhile. For tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), with nearly 15,000 reviews, 97% of patients felt the procedure was worthwhile. Many other procedures reviewed scored with 90% or higher, including Brazilian butt augmentation, breast reduction, mommy makeover, breast lift, and liposuction.
Whether you undergo a plastic surgery procedure for health (such as breast reduction), or aesthetic reasons, there is overwhelming evidence that patients feel an improvement in satisfaction with their own appearance. It is important to research the procedure, have realistic expectations, and find a surgeon you can trust and openly communicate with. These factors can help make a difference in satisfaction and help achieve the results you desire.
If you have any questions about plastic surgery, email Dr. Azad at firstname.lastname@example.org.