woman thinking about surgery

Will cosmetic surgery actually help my confidence?

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Health writer Amy Gallo discusses the pros and cons of plastic surgery.

Plastic surgery is never the kind of thing you should take lightly. After all, it is surgery that can come with risks and lots of recovery time. However, for some people, it may seem like the answer to their self-confidence issues.

While it’s true that there are patients who definitely decide to go under the knife for the wrong reasons, it’s important to look at the positives and negatives before deciding if cosmetic surgery really will help your confidence.

This article will cover both the good and bad sides of undergoing aesthetic surgery, but we will start with the potential positives.

The Positives of Aesthetic Surgery

In some cases, plastic surgery can absolutely help your confidence. If you have certain features that are asymmetrical, malformed or not exactly suited to your face or frame, the ability to correct these issues can be immensely helpful. This is especially true for people who have been teased or treated differently because of their appearance.

There have even been studies that show a link between the self-esteem boosting effects of this type of procedure and a reduction in symptoms of depression. While one study isn’t enough to make sweeping claims, it is certainly worth noting that over 30 percent of people in that study were able to stop taking antidepressant drugs entirely after they elected to have plastic surgery.

Another positive aspect of cosmetic procedures is the focus on self-care. When you choose to take control of your appearance, it can lead to a sense of empowerment that doesn’t have to stay limited to just your looks. Cosmetic procedures like this can start some people down a path of true transformation because they suddenly have confidence in their ability to change parts of their life that they are unhappy with.

The American Psychological Association analyzed 37 studies on the mental health of patients post-procedure and found that there was a significant boost in positive body image as well as a possible boost to how patients felt about the quality of their life overall.

In spite of all of these potential positives, it’s just as important to talk about the downsides in order to give you a more well-rounded view about whether or not a surgical cosmetic procedure is the right choice for you.

glass face

The Negatives of Aesthetic Surgery

The most glaring downside to these procedures is the possibility of depression and anxiety. This may seem ridiculous at first, but post-operative depression is a real and very serious problem. While it’s true that many cases of post-op depression are temporary and linked to the long recovery process, it is important to note that there are plenty of other cases where the depression and anxiety stick around far longer. These cases usually stem from dissatisfaction with the procedure or an inability to adjust to their new appearance.

Another potential problem with these types of invasive procedures is the extended recovery time. Full recovery can take weeks, and for some people it is a grueling, isolating period of time. This problem may not affect everyone equally since your relationships can often play a major role in how your recovery goes, but it is something that you should take into consideration before committing to any kind of cosmetic procedure.

One final issue, and this one is the one that affects the most people, is unrealistic expectations. Across the board, studies have shown that people who expect an aesthetic procedure to fix their social problems, save a relationship or completely transform them into a new person are often worse off than before the surgery. This dissatisfaction and general unhappiness is even more pronounced in people with mental illness.

Girl in bikini

Can Cosmetic Surgery Help My Confidence?

Ultimately, this is a question that only you and your plastic surgeon can answer. There are many potential benefits to a surgical cosmetic procedure, but you must make sure that you’re going under the knife for the right reasons.

For example, if you decide you want a procedure like liposuction, it should be because you don’t feel able to lose weight naturally and have no other alternative, not because you think the procedure will make you more attractive to a lover or more likely to get a promotion.

Surgical alteration of your body is a huge commitment, and it is something you should take plenty of time to consider and research before you decide it is the right choice for you. It can absolutely help boost your confidence and quality of life, but it can just as easily leave you dissatisfied if you don’t think it through.


Amy Gallo is the manager at Dr Turner.com

Author: Amy Gallo

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