The psychological impact of plastic surgery on mental health
Self Help

The psychological impact of plastic surgery on mental health

Plastic Surgery

In recent years, plastic surgery has grown in popularity as a way for people to improve their appearance and increase their self-confidence. Although the physical changes can be astounding, it’s important to recognize that plastic surgery may have negative effects on mental health. We will examine the impact of plastic surgery on mental health throughout this article and offer helpful advice to reduce any unfavorable effects. Procedures performed in plastic surgery range from simple injections performed in the office to complete body reconstruction. There is a strong correlation between improving general mental health and quality of life and many of these procedures. To stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), plastic surgery operations were temporarily suspended to save personal protective equipment (PPE) for patients and front-line physicians who were most in need. While the main priorities continue to be safety measures and mental health.

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Relation between mental health and plastic surgery

  • The effects of plastic surgery on mental health may include an increase in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, and depression symptoms.
  • After having plastic surgery, people who have a history of mental health conditions like depression and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) are more likely to experience symptoms of mental distress.
  • It’s critical to get professional assistance if, following cosmetic surgery, you continue to feel depressed or find it difficult to manage your mental health.
  • Before, during, and after a plastic surgery procedure, it’s critical to manage your mental health by prioritizing self-care, keeping lines of communication open with your doctor, and setting reasonable expectations for your results.
  • Plastic surgeons must have an in-depth knowledge of preoperative psychology as well as post-surgical mood changes to properly counsel patients, explain expectations, and help determine whether a patient is a good candidate for surgery.

Signs of psychological distress following surgery

There is a negative aspect to plastic surgery’s effects on mental health and well-being, even though the majority of patients seek the procedure in the hopes of feeling more confident about themselves. Although studies indicate that many patients who have plastic surgery report better mental outcomes after the procedure, it has also been found that having plastic surgery can occasionally exacerbate pre-existing mental health conditions or lead to the development of new ones.

A person may be more susceptible to symptoms of mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as a result of a variety of circumstances, including post-operative dissatisfaction, body dysmorphia, unrealistic expectations, and social pressures.

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It’s crucial to remember that mental health issues can manifest prior to choosing to undergo cosmetic surgery, and in certain cases, it’s these emotions that influence an individual’s decision to make physical changes to their appearance. Although this can occasionally make someone feel better about themselves, it can also occasionally make them feel worse. Not all surgical procedures result in positive outcomes, and in certain instances, a patient may experience worsening symptoms following the procedure due to an underlying mental health disorder, even if the surgery was performed correctly.

Who is vulnerable to mental health problems following plastic surgery?

Though anyone thinking about plastic surgery might be susceptible to negative effects on their mental health, some people might be more so than others. A person’s predisposition to obsess over physical appearance or a history of mental health issues increases the likelihood of negative psychological effects. People who don’t have a solid support network or who have inflated expectations for the results could also be in danger.

Before having a cosmetic procedure, it’s crucial to do extensive research to make sure the surgeon is qualified and unlikely to make a mistake. Individuals who suffer from body dysmorphia or have a negative body image are more likely to experience distress because surgery cannot correct their distorted perception of their appearance. The best way to deal with these feelings is to see a trained, licensed mental health practitioner rather than having surgery because the problem is psychological in nature.

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Individuals with personality disorders or a past history of depression or anxiety are also more vulnerable, as undergoing surgery can be a traumatic experience. Additionally, the recuperation period—which involves not exercising or going out in public—can exacerbate depressive and anxious feelings, as can witnessing one’s appearance deteriorate before improving, assuming the procedure is successful.

What difference in health between women adopting surgery and those without surgery?

Women with breast implants have substantially lower body mass indices as well as higher chances of smoking cigarettes compared to women in the general population. They also have higher rates of induced abortions and fewer live births, lower educational levels, earlier ages upon initial delivery, and more breast disease screenings. The prevalence of Axis I and II disorders, among other possible differences, calls for additional research.

What effects does cosmetic surgery have on people around the patients?

People who are physically attractive are generally treated better than those who are not, and others find them to be more domineering, gregarious, mentally sound, and intelligent.

How do kids and teenagers respond to plastic surgery?

About 240,682 cosmetic procedures involving patients 18 years of age or younger were carried out in 2004. The most common surgical procedures were liposuction, tummy tucks, breast lifts, and breast augmentations. But very little research has been done to look at the long-term risks and safety of these procedures on teenagers, who are still going through a period of mental and physical development.

When does adopting a different look or plastic surgery become a body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)?

The hallmark of borderline personality disorder (BDD), described first in the 1987 updated third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, is an obsession with one’s appearance. Individuals who suffer from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) become so fixated on changing or examining the problematic body part that it starts to affect other areas of their lives. According to a number of studies, 7–12% of patients undergoing plastic surgery suffer from BDD. Moreover, most patients with BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) who undergo cosmetic surgery state that they experience no improvement in their BDD symptoms and often ask for additional procedures to be performed on the same or different body features.

Suggestions for reducing the negative effects of cosmetic surgery on mental health

If you determine that having plastic surgery is the right course of action for you, there are steps you can take, either with or without the assistance of a qualified mental health professional, to help avoid any signs of mental distress following the procedure.

Have reasonable expectations and Speak with a licensed surgeon:

Recognize that while cosmetic surgery can improve appearance, deeper emotional problems and insecurities may still exist. Select a trustworthy plastic surgeon who gives careful preoperative counseling and places a high priority on patient well-being. Don’t trust the surgeon with your appearance or, eventually, your life by letting them operate on you if you don’t feel comfortable around them.

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Be open with your communication and Learn for yourself:

Make sure your surgeon knows what you hope to achieve by discussing your worries, expectations, and anxieties with them. To make sure you have the right attitude going into the procedure, have reasonable expectations, and aren’t trying to use surgery to treat a somatic issue, you might also want to have a conversation with a mental health professional. Acquire a thorough understanding of the process, possible risks, recuperation time, and expected results. Making educated decisions and reducing anxiety are two benefits of this knowledge. Speaking with someone who has had the procedure you’re thinking about may also be beneficial.

Rely on your network of support, Make stress reduction and self-care a priority:

During the pre-and post-operative phases, surround yourself with friends, family, or support groups who can provide emotional support and reassurance. Make self-care activities, like working out, practicing meditation, and taking up a hobby, a priority in order to reduce stress and enhance general well-being. One should practice kindness toward oneself before, during, and after any procedures. For those who are unfamiliar with their daily applications, there are numerous mental health applications that can aid in stress management and self-care.

When you’re recovering, have patience:

Recognize that recovery takes time, and you might not see results right away. Being patient can lessen disappointment or dissatisfaction-related feelings, which can worsen anxiety and depressive symptoms.

The role of a psychologist

In addition to conducting research, psychologists can play clinical roles in assisting patients undergoing cosmetic surgery, such as assisting plastic surgeons in carrying out these evaluations. According to researchers, for instance, they can assist plastic surgeons in identifying patients who might not recover well psychologically from surgery.

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The specific preoperative and postoperative psychological factors of aesthetic procedures, including abdominoplasty, breast augmentation, face lifts, and rhinoplasty, have demonstrated their presence. Patients with specific personality traits that predispose them to depression are more likely to experience anxiety and depression following aesthetic procedures. When assessing surgical candidates, it’s crucial to take into account the patients’ pre-existing psyche. Individuals seeking aesthetic procedures are more likely to have pre-existing mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, which can make them more vulnerable to exacerbating mood symptoms after surgery.


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