Understanding the Emotional Impact of Plastic Surgery – Mental Health Considerations

Understanding the psychological impact of plastic surgery empowers individuals to make choices that align with their overall well-being. In the right circumstances, cosmetic surgery can positively influence mental health.

Still, it is essential to have realistic expectations for the results of your procedure. It is also a good idea to seek support from friends and family members who will provide reassurance.


Bringing one’s appearance closer to one’s desired appearance can give many people an undeniable boost of confidence. This boost can lead to improved social interaction, heightened life satisfaction, and increased self-esteem.

However, some individuals experience less pleasant emotional effects, such as anxiety and depression, post-surgery. These individuals often have more complex, underlying mental health issues that can’t be addressed by surgery alone.

According to a research review, several factors can contribute to the occurrence of these symptoms. They include a history of psychiatric disorders, body image focus, and unrealistic expectations for surgery.

The good news is that choosing a reputable plastic surgeon like Dr. Joel Aronowitz, who prioritizes patient well-being, can minimize these mental health issues. By setting realistic expectations, seeking professional help, and practicing healthy coping strategies, patients can prevent or reduce the onset of post-surgical depression and anxiety. They can also avoid attempting to treat a deeper, long-standing mental health issue with cosmetic enhancements.


People seeking cosmetic surgery are often driven by insecurities about body image and social pressures. While many of these motivations are considered reasonable, some individuals are not prepared for a change in appearance and may suffer psychological and emotional effects.

If you are considering plastic surgery, talk to a mental health practitioner first, then to a quality expert like Joel Aronowitz MD. This will help you set realistic expectations and ensure you are not trying to fix a deeper problem with your appearance.

Research has shown that most people who undergo plastic surgery experience improved mental outcomes after the procedure. However, there are some situations where a person’s mental health might worsen after the system, such as when they have an underlying mental disorder, like depression or anxiety. It is essential to undergo a comprehensive psychological evaluation before cosmetic surgery to ensure you are ready for the surgical changes and will benefit from them.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

A person with body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD, can believe their physical flaws are severe and deformed. They may spend significant time reapplying makeup or covering their body with clothing to hide what they see as imperfections. In extreme cases, they can become housebound and even stop working and socializing due to their appearance concerns.

Psychotherapy is a standard treatment option for people with BDD. It helps people recognize negative thoughts and learn to think more supportively about themselves. In addition, psychotherapy can help people find healthier coping mechanisms and reduce symptoms of BDD.

Psychologists and other mental health professionals can screen cosmetic surgery patients for signs of emotional distress. They can help patients make informed decisions about their procedure and ensure they have realistic expectations. Adolescents, in particular, are often at risk for questionable motivations to seek plastic surgery and unrealistic expectations about its outcomes. Preventive counseling is a valuable tool to prevent these problems from arising post-procedure.

Low Self-Esteem

In some cases, cosmetic surgery can alleviate physical discomfort caused by a physical trait like loose skin or excess fat. It can also help with functional issues like a deviated septum or oversized breasts.

However, if a patient’s mental health problems stem from dissatisfaction with a body feature, cosmetic surgery is unlikely to fix the problem. People with severe body dysmorphic disorder will still believe their imagined ugliness, no matter what they do to their appearance.

Individuals with low self-esteem may be tempted to seek cosmetic surgery because they think it will increase their confidence and self-worth. But this is a false belief. The truth is that your self-worth comes from within and directly correlates with your joy. It is not the size of your chest or the shape of your nose that determines your worth. Your thoughts about yourself and how a person perceives you matter most.

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