Plastic surgery’s link to psychology

May 15, 2012

Plastic surgery’s link to psychology
Plastic surgery’s link to psychology

A recent study presented at the 30th Anniversary Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) finds that individuals who undergo various plastic surgery procedures enjoy a positive psychological effect, improved quality of life and increased perceptions of well-being.

"The purpose of cosmetic surgery is to improve a person's psychological functioning by modifying their body image," said plastic surgeon Dr. Gregory Borah, author of a 1997 study on the effects of plastic surgery. "This prospective study is important because it demonstrates that objective measurements of a patient's quality of life are improved after cosmetic surgery."

According to ASAPS, the study involved 105 cosmetic plastic surgery patients between the ages of 18 and 70. Researchers found that most participants experienced positive effects, such as increased quality of life, following their procedures.

However, experts warn that while many people choose plastic surgery to discreetly improve their appearance, drastic changes can be shocking to some. A recent article on Buzzfeed.com examines those who have issues with their identity after drastic plastic surgery, like Heidi Montag, who many believe has body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). This psychological condition is a “red flag” for plastic surgeons who screen patients to make sure they are not having surgery to become a different person or make a perfect image.

One plastic surgeon from New York screens patients for psychological disorders and if he suspects a problem, refers them to a psychiatrist. Although “most surgeons are increasingly aware of a need for psychological screening,” experts warn, “there are unscrupulous people in every field.”

Sociologists and therapists suggest that cosmetic changes over the course of many years might be an easier adjustment than extreme plastic surgery. A person’s identity forms at adolescence and major changes could cause a shock. As always, it is best to consult with board-certified plastic surgeons while considering cosmetic surgery to make the best choice for you.


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

WE ARE AESTHETICS.

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