We often hear that natural beauty is the best beauty and that there is nothing more beautiful than being comfortable in our own imperfections.
However, the continued rise in the number of individuals wanting to look better and improved belies this ideal notion. In its 2013 Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Statistics Report, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that a total of 15.1 million cosmetic procedures, comprising of both surgical and minimally-invasive treatments, were performed in 2013. This translated to a $12 billion spending on cosmetic procedures in the US, which is up by 15% from the previous year.
The quest for physical enhancement cuts across gender, age and ethnicity. While still a female dominated industry comprising 91% of the total statistics, a considerable number of men have also been embarking on the same road to self-improvement. But what is apparent is that rhinoplasty and double eyelid surgery has topped the ranks as the two of the most popular surgical procedures in both men and women. This is along with liposuction, facelift and breast augmentation for women and breast reduction or gynecomastia for men.
Reasons That Are More Than Skin Deep
Social stigma sometimes forces people who have gone under the knife to hide the fact that they underwent a procedure. More often than not, they are frowned upon and are regarded as self-obsessed individuals who take vanity to the extremes. However, a lot of those go for cosmetic surgery for a number of other valid reasons other than just simply wanting to improve the way they look.
For some, constant and extreme bullying and insults have driven them to decide to get a procedure done to correct their unique physical feature. More than the alteration and improvement of their appearance, the underlying issue of addressing self-esteem issues gives them the ability to become more confident in their self-image.
For men, sports injuries that have left facial features damaged or broken are common reasons in getting a cosmetic surgery done. Some unfortunate ones, undergo serious and extensive cosmetic surgery after figured in a fatal accident where reconstructive need to be performed.
This is also not to discount the fact that there are also quite a large number who get cosmetic procedures for less serious, yet valid, reasons compared to the ones mentioned above. This includes improving body-image, looking young and some even go to the extent to validate themselves and make their partners happy.
Positive Psychological Effects of Cosmetic Surgery
In a long-term study conducted by the Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum in Germany and the University of Basel in Switzerland, Prof. Dr. Jurgren Margraf, Alxander Von Humboldt and several other scientists investigated the psychological effects of plastic surgery on 550 patients.
It highlighted that patients displayed more enjoyment in life and higher self-esteem after their physical appearance has been surgically altered. The study used a psychological instruction called Goal Attainment Scaling, to examine the goals that the patients want to achieve. Interestingly, most patients do not expect the impossible from having a cosmetic done, which includes life problems being solved and coming out a completely new person. The study revealed that only 12% stated these unrealistic standard goals with a majority expressing more realistic expectations, which include feeling better and developing more self-confidence.
The study also involved testing the respondents three, six and twelve months after getting their procedures done. It revealed that most patients claim to have achieved their desired goals and are satisfied with the results. But more importantly, those who have underwent cosmetic procedures felt that they are healthier, less anxious and have developed better self-esteem and self-image. And in an interesting revelation, most patients are not just happy with the operated feature, but find their overall appearance and body more attractive.
Negative Psychological Effects of Cosmetic Surgery
However, cosmetic surgery is never without its share of controversies. For anyone who is considering getting a procedure done, whether it be as small as rhinoplasty or extensive as a full facelift, that there are risks, side-effects and complications that may be involved.
In a 2011 article posted in DailyMail UK related of the dissatisfaction of Laura Pillarella after getting her first cosmetic surgery, which included the removal of her eyebags and a chin implant. Pillarella went on to say that, “When the bandages came off, I was disappointed. I wasn’t beautiful — just different. It wasn’t enough.” This led to a cycle of more surgical procedures and dissatisfaction of the results. She even went on to say that she has considered committing suicide after becoming profoundly depressed by her appearance afterwards. On the hindsight, she said that, “I was trying to boost my self-esteem, but plastic surgery never worked. If I had my time again I wouldn’t have surgery. I’d have therapy.”
More apparent documented negative psychological effects may be experienced during the recovery period, which include self-isolation, depression, anger and adjustment difficulties. This is because surgical wounds, swelling and bruising have to subside resulting to a less desirable and expected result. This is, however, temporary until a patient sees the final result of their cosmetic procedure.
But a more serious effect of cosmetic surgery is an obsession called Body Dysmorphic Disorder or BDD. This is a mental illness and anxiety disorder where an individual is highly concerned and affected with body image and a perceived defect of their physical appearance. This disorder affects almost equally both men and women. It has even been revealed by the American Psychiatric Association that 7 to 12 percent of cosmetic surgery patients are affected with BDD.
The Importance of A Surgeon Who Understands You
One of the important things to remember when seeking a cosmetic procedure like rhinoplasty and double eyelid surgery is to keep a realistic goal in mind. One should be mindful that cosmetic surgery is not about achieving perfection but attaining a balance and harmony in your overall features. This dispels any possibility of developing negative psychological effects after getting a surgery done.
Having a strong self-image prior to getting a procedure done and a strong support team will yield the more satisfying positive effects of a cosmetic surgery.
It cannot be overemphasized the importance of approaching a credible cosmetic surgeon who understands this. A thorough evaluation of your features and an extensive discussion on the methods, expected results, as well as the complications and risks involved in the procedure should be covered during your consultation with the doctor.
Dr. Andrew Kim of Advanced Beauty Cosmetic Surgery performs Asian rhinoplasty and double eyelid surgery that aims to achieve balance and harmony rather than perfection. Dr. Kim’s comprehensive medical approach in dealing with his patients and assure of a desirable natural-looking result that will make you feel happy and satisfied with the final outcome.
Call now to schedule a free consultation in any of their clinics in Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney!