The focus of many articles on plastic surgery and non surgical cosmetic procedures such as Botox, Restylane and Juvederm is most often on the physical benefits of these treatments. But the popularity of shows like “How to Look Good Naked” provide strong evidence that how women feel about themselves on the inside is what really drives behaviour. Ask most patients why they chose to have their breast augmentation, tummy tuck or even why they chose a simple non invasive skincare treatment like microdermabrasion, and you’ll find most will identify emotional and psychological motivations. Dr. Weinberg, plastic surgeon at Mississauga Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Clinic, and the Toronto Plastic Surgery Clinic, is delighted to see a show like “How to Look Good Naked” come to Canada, as it conveys a message of empowerment, and really promotes the whole notion that people should be comfortable with their body. The right way to view cosmetic medical treatment is as just one more tool to help people gain that confidence and comfort, says Dr. Weinberg.
In an article in the April 2004 issue of Plastic and Reconstuctive Surgery ( Vol113). psychiatrists Katherine Phillips and David Castle, and social worker Roberta Honigman analysed 37 studies that have looked at Psychological well being before and after plastic surgery, and concluded that most of the research suggests patients gain improvements in body image and quality of life from cosmetic surgery. In a recent research paper published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal ( Vol 25), PhD psychologist and professor David Sarwer found that 1 year after undergoing plastic surgery , 87% of patients reported satisfaction, with improvement in overall body image, and specifically in perception of the feature surgically altered. They suffered from less negative emotions with respect to body image in social situations.
The beneficial byproducts of cosmetic medicine can include feelings of being more “normal”, for many people who have always had a disfiguring or unattractive feature, or whose physical endowments have been at the extremes of the “norm”. Many people report feeling more physically attractive to others. This translates into greater social ease, and improved interpersonal relationships. Others point to the demands within the job market for a youthful, well put together appearance, and a confidant demeanor. They credit their facelift or liposuction procedure as having given them a competitive edge in their career goals.
Finally, even non invasive treatments, like Photofacials and laser hair removal, or Botox treatment for hyperhydrosis can be beneficial psychologically. Registered nurse Cathy Mckay of MCSC reports many patients are thrilled when they can shake someone’s hand without a sweaty palm, or wear any color T shirt they want without sweat marks under the arms. Botox is a great cure for the social embarrassment associated with excessive sweating. Furthermore the winter months are often a bit of a downer for many people, the cold grey weather , and lack of sunlight can lead to a low mood . Pampering oneself with a facial or skin treatment helps people cope, says Suzanne, medical aesthetician. “It breaks up the monotony of winter, and helps improve their appearance at the very time when the weather can be most punishing to their skin.”