Cosmetic Surgery and Body Image

October 28, 2014

When prospective patients come to see the surgeons at Crawford Plastic Surgery for an initial consultation visit, they will be asked why they made the decision to undergo cosmetic surgery. Almost universally, patients respond that they want to improve their body image. Whether patients are unhappy with the size of their breasts or the shape of their nose, they all want to feel better about the shape and size of their bodies. This concern with body image would seem to be true for all cosmetic surgery patients. Of course, the question arises as to how cosmetic surgery can help patients improve their body image without giving them false expectations. The surgeons at Crawford Plastic Surgery believe the key is to enable patients to reach their goals, while at the same time being realistic about the amount of body change that can be safely and effectively achieved.

Realistic Goals

Perhaps the most important element to reassuring patients about the possibility of cosmetic surgery improving their body image is to have realistic goals. Patients may have certain ideas of the look they want to achieve based on pictures of famous celebrities who have undergone cosmetic surgery, but whether or not those goals can be achieved is another matter entirely. For example, some women with very thin frames may want the very round, push-up effect for a breast augmentation without thinking about how well breast implants of that size and shape will fit on them. In such cases, the surgeons at Crawford Plastic Surgery may recommend smaller implants with a higher profile (greater implant height than width) in order to avoid the “uniboob” effect.

Psychological Factors

It is impossible to avoid the fact that issues such as body image concerns can play into self-esteem and other psychological concerns. Dr. Crawford believes that while cosmetic surgery can help patients feel more confident and self-assured about their appearance, it should not be seen as a sure fire method to achieve happiness or satisfaction. Those types of psychological factors must come from within the patient, rather than from external forces such as cosmetic surgery.

Research on the Effect of Cosmetic Surgery on Self-Esteem

An interesting article in the October 2009 issue of the Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgery examined the effect that cosmetic surgery had upon body image. The researchers analyzed data gathered from a questionnaire given to 155 Norwegian women six months prior to cosmetic surgery, and then again six months after the procedure. The patients all showed improvement in their body image after the procedure. As a result, the researchers concluded that body image plays an important role in understanding the motivations for patients considering cosmetic surgery to improve their body image. This can be very important in helping cosmetic surgeons be aware of underlying psychological issues that may be motivating patients to seek out cosmetic surgery to enhance their appearance.

Certainly it is normal for people to want to improve the size and shape of their body. Cosmetic surgery may provide a means for them to do so, provided they have realistic expectations of what each procedure can reasonably accomplish.

To schedule a consultation, contact Crawford Plastic Surgery

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