1 The Psychology of Cosmetic Surgery
- Cosmetic surgery patients often have very complex motivations, reactions, and psychology. Most of them have positive outcomes — in other words, their self-esteem and confidence are enhanced by the surgery at a reasonable price in both dollars and inconvenience.
- Despite the psychological benefits, some very negative books and articles have been written about this subject. I'm not from that universe - I'm optimistic about our ability to generate positive changes with our work.
- The recovery may be difficult psychologically for a minority of patients. With our modern techniques, serious complications are far less frequent than before. But this is real surgery, and complications, up to and including death, can occur.
- Physicians should provide emotional support along with cosmetic surgery. It's important for a doctor to spend enough time with each patient and to be truly caring.
- Our final goal is to have the external improvement boost the patient's self-esteem.
While most medical specialties address physical health, cosmetic surgery is unique in the way it uses physical improvement to benefit psychological health. It is the ultimate elective surgery. The patient's motivation — to look and feel better — is directly connected to his or her sense of self-worth. That's why I've chosen to put this chapter at the beginning of the book. Physicians and patients both need to consider motivation, expectations and other psychological influences before making a cosmetic surgery commitment.
The true bottom line when making your decision about cosmetic surgery is simple — how much does the "flawed" area of your body bother you? If heavy thighs, small breasts or a receding hairline make you unhappy, and you are healthy, then what else do you need to know? You're a freethinking adult with decision-making power. You care about yourself. You want to improve the way you look and the way you feel. It's that simple. Or is it?
You'd be surprised at what happens when you scratch the surface of a simple thought like, "I'd like to look more attractive." Underneath that thought, all kinds of subconscious messages — cultural, sexual, social and physical — are screaming for attention. How do you sort them out so that each can be clearly heard?
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