Jan 7

Who says plastic surgery does not boost emotional health

A recent Reuters Health article enjoyed a lot of coverage for its assertion that “women should consider looking beyond popular culture perspectives… before going under the knife for an emotional boost.” This conclusion was based on a study examining articles published over the last several years in popular women’s magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Chatelaine.

Of interest, the study seems to take a negative view of the fact that a majority of these women’s magazine articles link cosmetic surgery to an improvement in emotional health “despite the lack of scientific consensus” that cosmetic surgery has that effect. What’s worse, according to the study, is that male perceptions are commonly used to define standards of female attractiveness that are used to “justify undergoing cosmetic surgery,” especially body plastic surgical procedures it would seem.

This is a common opinion among plastic surgery detractors. It’s the age-old message, “You don’t need a facelift to feel good about yourself! That’s superficial. Embrace your wrinkles. Find your inner happiness.” Well, maybe that’s true and maybe it isn’t. Far be it from us plastic surgeons to ply and push our trade onto anyone. But, believe it or not, outer and inner beauty just might be more aligned than you think.  A recent study even suggested that plastic surgery can reduce dependence on anti-depressants.

Positive changes after plastic surgery

What plastic surgery detractors should know is what we see every day. We talk to women who have and do look beyond cultural perspectives. They’re not having a nose job or eyelid tuck because their friend or boyfriend or husband told them to. In fact, many mates are opposed to the idea of surgery. They love these women as they are. Our patients are doing it for themselves, because it will improve an area of concern that has dogged them for years.

The idea that a woman having plastic surgery is somehow ‘giving in’ to pressures from the media and society is just plain wrong. A couple of my happiest patients have been strong, intelligent, self-proclaimed feminist intellectuals who used to be staunch opponents of plastic surgery…that is, until they realized the benefits for themselves.

But don’t take it from me, take it from them. There may not be “scientific consensus” about most things, but we just recently published one of the largest known studies of plastic surgery’s effects on quality of life. And, the results showed that facial plastic surgery had an overwhelmingly positive effect on perceived quality of life, as much or even more so than most any other medical treatment. So, the proof is in the pudding, folks. If you’d like to read about it for yourselves, here is the article.

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