Patients who undergo aesthetic surgery are very likely to find themselves happier than before their procedure. These are the findings of the newest, largest, and longest-term study on the psychological outcomes of plastic surgery.
The study from Germany took place over the course of a year and involved:
- 544 patients who had undergone aesthetic surgery
- 264 people who had considered aesthetic surgery but did not go through with it
- 1000 individuals from the general population who never had interest in aesthetic surgery
The researchers first assessed the mental health of these different groups. They found that aesthetic surgery patients did not significantly differ from the other groups in terms of their psychological well-being—they were not more depressive or dissatisfied than the control groups. The researchers also employed tests which showed that most of the patients had realistic goals and expectations. (It should be noted that patients with more serious body dysmorphia are precluded from undergoing plastic surgery and thus could not be subjects in this study.)
In follow-up examinations after three, six, and twelve months, the patients who opted for surgery showed significant improvements in their mental and emotional well-being. Specifically, researchers noted positive changes in areas such as “anxiety, social phobia, depression, body dysmorphia, goal attainment, quality of life, life satisfaction, attractiveness, mental and physical health, well-being, self-efficacy and self-esteem.” These changes were observed in contrast with the group of subjects who had decided against aesthetic surgery.
Importantly, the research also did not indicate negative psychological outcomes from plastic surgery.
At the Pacific Center for Plastic Surgery, your total well being is just as important to us as your surgical result. Dr. Larry Nichter and Dr. Jed Horowitz put great emphasis on building realistic expectations with their patients, as this lays the foundation for greater satisfaction and self-image after plastic surgery.