Will cosmetic surgery make you look and feel better? Those are the questions likely at top of mind when you make the first call to the office of your plastic surgeon in xxx.
The answer is a (somewhat complex) yes. In some cases, cosmetic surgery can improve your health – if you have a physical impediment to breathing, musculoskeletal comfort, or wound healing, for example. At other times, making slight adjustments to your appearance can improve your self-image.
Health Benefits of Cosmetic Surgery
Rhinoplasty (Nose Job)
A person suffering from a deviated septum, which causes snoring and difficulty breathing due to chronic congestion, can choose to undergo a rhinoplasty to improve their condition.
Women with abundantly large breasts can experience back, shoulder, and neck pain from the added weight. A breast reduction can significantly improve their quality of life.
Via cosmetic surgery, most types of skin cancer can be removed. Cosmetic surgery also helps close wounds and heal burn victims’ skin.
Liposuction can make huge improvements in the odds of diabetes in at-risk populations.
Nerve Decompression Surgery helps migraine sufferers experience many fewer headaches per month.
Psycho-Social Benefits of Cosmetic Surgery
People call their plastic surgeon in Houston for their own reasons. Some want to become more well-liked by strangers, or by people that already know them. Others believe an enhanced appearance will “get them ahead” in the workplace. However, many people do it simply for “me.” That is, they have less obvious motivations that have little to do with objective rewards.
Improved Body Image
Most people are motivated to undergo cosmetic surgery to improve their body image, says Susan Thorpe, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Surrey in Guildford, Surrey (England,) who conducts cosmetic surgery research.
“They want to look normal–that is, they don’t want to stand out in an obvious way or to have features which cause comments or make them feel self-conscious,” Thorpe says. “They also want their physical appearance to be more in line with their personalities and feel that they want all the bits of their bodies to match [apa.org.]”
Interestingly, what matters most with cosmetic surgery is how you feel about it. “In other words, people who are objectively more physically attractive are not more happy, on average… however, self-perceptions of physical attractiveness do relate strongly and positively to happiness [psychologytoday.com.]”
So, no matter how big your bias about how “attractive” you are, the good news is that all that really matters for your happiness is the feelings themselves. If you feel like you look great, for all intents and purposes you really do.
A Few Words of Warning
You have probably heard that you should not expect cosmetic surgery to “turn you into a new person” or “solve all your problems.” A representative review study confirms that if you have unrealistically high expectations about what cosmetic surgery will do for you, you are likely to be disappointed—and wind up less happy than you were to begin with.
On Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), first introduced into the lexicon in 1987, is condition primarily characterized by a fixation on an aspect of your appearance.
“People with BDD repeatedly change or examine the offending body part to the point that the obsession interferes with other aspects of their life. Several studies show that 7 to 12 percent of plastic surgery patients have some form of BDD. Plus, the majority of BDD patients who have cosmetic surgery do not experience improvement in their BDD symptoms, often asking for multiple procedures on the same or other body features [apa.org.]”
If you think you may have BDD, Take This Questionnaire.
Then, Find Help Here.
(via the Body Dysmorphic Association.)
Additional Benefits of Cosmetic Surgery
Cosmetic surgery may be able to help with:
- Social phobia
- Goal attainment
- Life satisfaction
- Mental and physical health