Undoubtedly, the voracious traditional and digital media consumption in our age has a lot to do with the changing societal beauty ideals. Social media has prompted many people to feel pressure to be perfect. It has been linked to a rise in the popularity of cosmetic surgeries. This aspect ends up overshadowing the many positives of cosmetic surgery.
It is true that many people end up believing that once they’ve gotten the cosmetic surgery of their choice, all their troubles will simply melt away. If the results of the procedure are disappointing, they end up feeling even sadder than before and/or experience depression.
This is disregarding the fact that, sometimes, no matter how good the clinic is, certain limitations don’t allow the patient to achieve their desired outcome. A good surgeon will, therefore, always make sure to communicate realistic expectations to you.
Many social media platforms are all about high-quality, attractive photos. They increase user engagement. If you’ve come across the ‘Instagram vs Reality’ pictures recently, you might’ve noticed how filters, edits, lighting, and camera angling all influence the final image.
Exposure to such faux perfection ends up making many people feel dissatisfied and insecure about themselves. They then think that they need to get rid of their flaws in order to become happy.
One study on Norwegian women between the age of 12–19 years who were followed up for a period of 13 years found that mental health problems did not get better in patients after they’d gotten cosmetic surgery.
The study showed that women were prone to commit suicide. It is important to remember that changing certain body parts will not help you completely get rid of your problems and sources of unhappiness. It is a false belief that after cosmetic surgery, everything in your life will come together and be perfect. When that doesn’t happen, disappointment can worsen your mental health.
So, there aren’t any mental health benefits of cosmetic surgeries?
There are, in fact, many positive mental health effects of getting cosmetic surgery. Importantly, it can help boost the confidence and self-esteem of the patient. They can start to see their own bodies in a more positive light.
Let’s consider dating for a moment. It’s mainly about physical attraction. There, looks matter, more than anything. If you feel embarrassed about a certain facial feature, you might feel hesitant about going out on a date. If the bridge of your nose is bothering you, you can seek rhinoplasty surgery. It can help correct your side profile and enhance your overall appearance in your eyes.
After pregnancy, many women struggle to lose their weight while dealing with saggy breasts. Not being able to fit into the clothes you once could is, of course, disheartening. It can affect the quality of your life by affecting you mentally. You can even feel depressed. Through a breast uplift and/or augmentation procedure, you can feel happier after gaining a semblance of your former self. You won’t have to think about covering or hiding your belly anymore or search the internet for ways to look slimmer.
Many studies show an improvement in self-esteem and happiness of the patients who undergo cosmetic surgeries. Lesser depression in patients after they’ve gotten a Botox injection has also been noted in several studies.
Finding the right clinic is of prime importance. It can make or break the results of your surgery. Sometimes people are suffering from poor mental health before they get cosmetic surgery. They should seek professional medical help in that regard. Otherwise, even the slightest disappointment from results after the surgery can plunge them into even greater depression, depths of despair, and disappointment. The recovery period becomes painful, both mentally and physically.
Cosmetic surgeries aren’t all about improving your looks
This is what many people simply overlook. Consider breast reduction surgery. Many patients who choose to undergo this procedure are suffering from shoulder, neck, and back pain because of the weight of their boobs. They also frequently develop rashes under the breasts, which is worse in summer.
Breast reconstruction after a mastectomy has significant psychological implications for the patients. One study showed that immediate breast reconstruction allowed women to feel less depressed and anxious, along with having better self-esteem and body image, among other benefits. This was in contrast to those who had delayed breast reconstruction.
Through a tummy tuck surgery, the abdominal muscles can be repaired. Moreover, it can improve ‘back pain and urinary incontinence’ after childbirth, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Be realistic about your expectation of cosmetic surgery. No doubt, it can hugely positively impact your mental health, but it should not be seen as a solution to all your life’s problems.
Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.
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