Plastic Surgery Linked to Higher Self-Esteem and Better Mood

Smack bang in this age of greater diversity in terms of body image, statistics show that plastic surgery is bigger than ever. The global cosmetic surgery industry is expected to be worth $11.6 billion this year, and is likely to more than double from 2014 to 2021. A frequent subject of debate is the desirability of plastic surgery; on the one hand, millennials are more introspective, spiritual, and meaning-oriented than past generations. On the other, all generations are opening up to the possibility of surgery to solve problems that can’t just be ‘worked on’. Interestingly, recent research shows that plastic surgery can be empowering, since it boosts self-esteem and mood. Additionally, those who opt for plastic surgery are no worse off in terms of mental health, than those who chose to forego it.

Plastic Surgery and Self-Esteem

A study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science was the largest ever of its kind to look into the psychological effects of plastic surgery. The researchers observed 550 patients, tested them before surgery, as well as three, six, and 12 months afterwards. The majority of patients who had undergone plastic surgery felt that their chosen procedure had enabled them to achieve their desired goal and that they were happy with the results. Compared to those who had initially considered plastic surgery but later opted against it, they felt healthier, had less anxiety, and developed more self-esteem – not only with respect to the part of their body that had been operated, but also regarding their body as a whole.

What Procedures are Most Popular for Women?

Although cosmetic surgery is increasing in popularity among men, over 85% of operations are still carried out on women. The most popular procedures include breast augmentations, nose reshaping, eyelid surgery, liposuction, and tummy tucks. The latter is often a part of a popular set of procedures that make up the ‘mommy makeover’. It aims to remove excess skin from the abdominal area, and can involve a breast lift or augmentation and, sometimes, additional surgeries such as the Brazilian butt lift.

Why are More Men and Women Opting for Plastic Surgery?

There are many reasons postulated for the rising popularity of cosmetic surgery. For one, the advent of far safer and more effective techniques (water jet-assisted liposuction is just one) means that down time is much lower than in the past. Secondly, there are many procedures that can be carried out quickly, without the need for hospitalization – after a tummy tuck, for instance, patients often go home the same day. Finally, both men and women are seeing plastic surgery as a way to ‘stay competitive’. People are living and working longer, and many feel that looking younger will boost their confidence and open doors in their respective industries.

The boom in cosmetic procedures reflects the refusal of both men and women to put up with issues they cannot change through hard work. Plastic surgery is one perceived solution, yet there are a bevy of non-surgical opens that are also proving popular (including fat freezing for stubborn fat in the tummy area, laser treatment for the face and body, and microneedling for a beautiful complexion). What has certainly become clear is that people no longer see surgery as a ‘last resort’ or something they have to hide (or even fear). Diversity promotes self-acceptance but also allows for differing opinions. For many, opting for plastic surgery can provide them with the boost in self-confidence they crave, by eliminating an issue they may have been unhappy about for many years.

Thanks to Jane Sandwood

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