Psychological Study Probes Motivations of Facelift Patients

NEW YORK, NY (May 2, 1997) — Facelift patients are significantly more invested in their personal appearance, health and fitness than the typical American, according to a study presented at the 30th Anniversary Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), May 2-7 at the New York Hilton and Towers.

"Body image dissatisfaction is considered the prime motivation for having cosmetic surgery. But for prospective facelift patients, investment in their appearance, fitness and health may be more significant," says psychologist David B. Sarwer, PhD.

The study was conducted using two questionnaires. One questionnaire assessed both the degree of investment in and satisfaction with several general aspects of body image including appearance, fitness and health. The other questionnaire measured more specific elements of dissatisfaction with the body feature that patients were considering for surgery. Results were compared to the normative samples and a sample of 145 prospective patients seeking other types of cosmetic procedures.

Prospective facelift patients scored significantly higher than the normative samples on the measure assessing investment in appearance, fitness and health. Facelift patients also scored higher than the typical American on the measure of body image dissatisfaction. However, the facelift patients showed significantly lower body image dissatisfaction than prospective patients seeking other types of cosmetic procedures.

"This study suggests that facelift patients may have a psychological profile that is significantly different from other cosmetic surgery patients," says plastic surgeon Linton Whitaker, MD, who co-authored the paper presented at the ASAPS meeting. "By understanding specific motivations that different types of patients may have, plastic surgeons can do a better job helping them achieve their goals for cosmetic surgery."


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 nonsurgical 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.


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