Plastic surgery and psychology
The increased popularity of plastic and aesthetic surgery among men and women attracted interest from professional psychologists and psychiatrists, who came to the conclusion that taking into account the patient’s mental state and psychological type before surgery is no less important than the state of physical health. According to statistics, subsequently, this factor can play a decisive role in the life of the patient and his plastic surgeon.
More recently, a study has been completed in the United States that summarizes the experience of numerous surveys on the patient’s mental well-being before and after plastic surgery. In general, there is a positive trend – the improvement in appearance achieved during the operation leads to increased self-esteem of the patient, increases the degree of socialization, significantly improves the quality of life. However, a report published in the American Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery mentions the negative psychological effects observed in about one in ten patients. As a rule, such patients experienced clearly high, unrealistic expectations from plastic surgery (endoscopic facelift, rhinoplasty, mammoplasty, etc.), or were prone to depression and anxiety.
It was such patients who were not satisfied with the results of the operation, which was expressed in their insistent requests to repeat the operation. Some patients prone to anxiety, experienced serious problems with social adaptation, experienced protracted depression, projected their negative trends on the plastic surgeon and his assistants.
Currently, there are insufficient studies on the impact of plastic surgery on the patient’s psyche. However, based on existing materials, many reputable psychologists agree: “As aesthetic surgery grows in popularity, many psychologists are likely to encounter patients who will seek to solve their psychological problems – low self-esteem, a constant sense of anxiety and insecurity – with using plastic surgery. Therefore, it is very important for a psychologist to be able to understand, during a discussion of a patient’s appearance, whether he really needs plastic surgery, or rather, the help of a qualified psychologist? ”
It should be noted that even thirty years ago, in the circles of practicing psychologists, it was widely believed that people resorting to the services of aesthetic surgery have serious mental problems. Modern research by psychologists has established that people turn to a plastic surgeon for many reasons, often not related to mental disorders. However, in numerous surveys, it was found that from 7 to 12 percent of patients seeking aesthetic surgery suffer from a serious mental disorder – dysmorphomania. Medical encyclopedias define dysmorphomania as “a pathological conviction of the need for surgical correction of any part of the body with an active desire to correct an imaginary defect.”
According to medical statistics, a year after plastic surgery, 87% of patients (without obvious personality disorders) were satisfied with its results. In addition, they experienced less negative emotions associated with their own bodies. However, among those suffering from dysmorphomania, the results were exactly the opposite – patients who had unrealistic expectations from plastic surgeries were dissatisfied with the results of operations, were depressed, and were inclined to thoughts of suicide. American psychologists urge plastic surgeons around the world to be more attentive to the mental health of their potential patients: if the patient insists on an operation on a part of the body that looks completely normal – moreover, he associates with the operation clearly excessively high expectations – such a patient most likely needs the help of an experienced psychiatrist .