According to a new study entitled “Well-Being From the Knife?: Psychological Effects of Aesthetic Surgery,” the benefits of cosmetic surgery extend beyond the physical, but stimulate positive psychological responses as well, such as improved self-confidence, satisfaction, and enjoyment of life.
Long-term research by Dr. Jürgen Margraf, a professor for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy at Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum, was conducted on approximately 550 plastic surgery patients, and the findings were published on March 4 in the journal Clinical Psychological Science. Dr. Margraf’s investigation is the world’s largest ever study on the issue of the psychological effects of cosmetic procedures to date.
The research consisted of three test groups. The first was the 550 patients who were first-timers to plastic surgery. The second group was composed of 264 people who had wanted plastic surgery at one time, but decided against it. The last group was around 1,000 people from the general public who said they have never been interested in getting a plastic surgery operation.
Dr. Margraf and his team evaluated the goals the patients in the first group had prior to surgery, using a psychological tool known as the “Goal Attainment Scaling”—a survey of question to determine whether the patient had realistic or unrealistic goals.
What they found is that only 12% of patients tested positive for having unrealistic goals, and a majority of first-timers stated that they were hoping for more self-confidence, reduced blemishes, and to feel better.
After their operation, the researchers tested the patients three, six, and twelve months later. A majority of patients said that they felt they had met their desired goals, and were happier because of it.
The first test group was compared to the second and third groups, who had not undergone cosmetic surgery, and the evidence showed that the patients in group one:
- Felt better
- Were less anxious
- Had developed more self-esteem
- Considered their improved body part, as well as their body as a whole, more attractive
The clinical researchers could not discover any negative psychological aspects from their test group, and were able to determine a high-level of treatment success in plastic surgery and cosmetic operations.
“Among people who are dissatisfied with a particular physical feature and who are considering aesthetic surgery, undergoing aesthetic surgery appears to be more psychologically beneficial on the outcomes measured than not undergoing surgery,” says Dr. Margraf in the article.
However, investigations on the psychology of plastic surgery are far from over. Dr. Margraf concludes his study by listing eight additional factors that need to be addressed in future research, such as returning plastic surgery patients, differentiating between different cosmetic operations (e.g. facelift vs. rhinoplasty), and defining “satisfaction.”
For now, the scientific confirmation of the psychological benefits of cosmetic procedures is expected to have a huge impact on the plastic surgery industry.
Plastic surgeons at Gainesville’s AccentMD are dedicated to helping you regain your self-confidence and life enjoyment by rejuvenating the external (body) to affect the internal (mind). Visit our website to learn more.