During my consultations with prospective plastic surgery patients in the Naperville and Chicago area, I always make sure to ask not only about their goals, but also why they want a cosmetic procedure. Sometimes patients who visit me have unrealistic expectations. Sometimes they’re getting surgery to please a spouse. As a board-certified plastic surgeon, one of my responsibilities is to assess whether someone is a good candidate for surgery, both physically and psychologically.
For those patients who do approach plastic surgery with a proper, well-grounded perspective, the benefits of improving their appearance aren’t just skin deep. A recent study from the journal Clinical Psychological Science concluded that people who underwent aesthetic surgery reaped positive outcomes across many areas of their lives, “including anxiety, social phobia, depression, body dysmorphia, goal attainment, quality of life, life satisfaction, attractiveness … and self-esteem.”
Of course, plastic surgery isn’t a treatment for serious mental illness. But an increasing number of studies show that people who undergo a cosmetic procedure also experience a psychological boost.