Plastic surgery is sometimes branded as an addiction or just generally stigmatized by the media. This is probably in large part due to the popularity of celebrities like Heidi Montag, who have taken cosmetic surgery to an extreme level. We are all defined by the worst of our group – for plastic surgery, it’s wacky celebrities who don’t know when to quit.
But those negative images in the media aren’t a good representation of typical results for a plastic surgery patient. In fact, a recent study has countered previous studies in finding that plastic surgery can actually help with depression and make patients feel better about themselves.
The study was presented earlier this year at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery conference in San Francisco. A group of 62 patients who were on anti-depressants received plastic surgery. Six months after their surgeries, 19 of those patients no longer took anti-depressants. This does not prove that plastic surgery is a cure for depression. Correlation does not prove causation. However, it definitely does not support the idea that plastic surgery is automatically bad for one’s psyche. If anything, it suggests it may help.
What’s more, out of a group of 362 plastic surgery patients, 355 patients reported that their surgeries had improved their lives by boosting their self-esteem and self-confidence. That’s a much harder statistic to discount.
We often see a renewed sense of body image or self esteem after plastic surgical procedures. And this improved confidence is not transient – it’s long lasting – at least a year after the procedure. While I don’t have any solid data on the reduction of anti-depressents, the increased happiness is obvious, and one of the most satisfying aspects of my practice.