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Plastic Surgery

The Psychological Impact of Plastic Surgery

Girl trying dress

By Dr. Glenn M. Davis

While the most obvious effects of cosmetic surgery are physical, there’s no denying that these procedures can have a psychological impact as well. The best plastic surgeons recognize that addressing this factor with patients is an important part of the entire surgical process, from consultation all the way through recovery.

Motivations and Expectations

Being uncomfortable about any physical aspect of your appearance has a psychological component, whether it’s feeling hyperaware of smaller (or larger) breasts, frustrated over love handles or unhappy about looking older. Men and women ultimately pursue cosmetic procedures in an effort to feel better about their self-image, which is a mental construct, even if the vehicle for getting there—cosmetic surgery—is itself a physical one. When appearance concerns have been present for years or even decades, it’s no wonder that finally taking action to address them can result in a very positive emotional state.

In fact, recent research shows that patients who undergo plastic surgery report higher satisfaction with their physical appearance, increased self-esteem and greater enjoyment of life overall compared to control groups. Perhaps most importantly, data indicate that the majority of patients had realistic expectations about their procedures; they didn’t expect surgery to completely change their lives, yet they still felt positive about having made the commitment even over the long-term.

The most apparent changes after plastic surgery may be visual, but most patients agree that how they feel and think about themselves afterward is by far a highly rewarding aspect of pursuing cosmetic procedures.

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January 29, 2014
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