When is having plastic surgery helpful to your mental and physical health – and when does it become harmful?

Are there any health benefits of plastic surgery? Well -If we look at the history of modern plastic surgery we will see that it was initially developed to help care for the soldiers of the First World War: Men that had suffered severely disfiguring facial injuries and were left unable to eat and drink as well as the psychological consequences of such a horrific experience.  Some of Europe’s most finest and skilled surgeons were called upon to help. As a result they dedicated their practise to help undo the consequences of a war that had spared no prisoners. Huge advances in the understanding of aesthetic surgery and infection prevention enabled surgeons to perform much more complex procedures as time then moved forward. The advantages of cosmetic surgery then progressed to a truly cosmetic nature and the first recorded breast augmentation and rhinoplasty was performed.

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Fast forward to today – Plastic surgery is generally thoughts of as a permanent way of improving ones appearance. Whether you want to cheat the force of gravity and minimise the signs of aging, flaunt new womanly curves with larger sized breasts or tweak the size and shape of your waistline; plastic surgery usually can help. But what are the other health benefits of plastic surgery and can it ever do more harm than good.

Read on to find out!

Health Benefits of Plastic Surgery

Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty is a well-known cosmetic procedure to improve the appearance of the nose. But did you know this popular option can have some pretty impressive health benefits too.

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  • It is very often done to help repair structural problems that are affecting a person ability to breathe properly. And we all know how important it is that us humans can breathe!!
  • Many patients report that not only has their breathing improved but also they have been able to sleep much more easily. It has even stopped some people from snoring. With this last pointer in mind – maybe I should be adding ‘can improve relationships’ onto this ‘advantages of cosmetic surgery’ list?! Ok I will stop joking around – back to the serious topic in hand
  • Other health benefits of Rhinoplasty surgery include the resolution of sinus problems: Do you suffer from chronic congestion, headaches and sinus pressure? All of these can be alleviated with nose surgery.
  • With a wide variety of shapes and sizes, we very often take it for granted that we are born with a fully formed nose: But some are not so lucky and are born with birth defects such as; clefts, underdevelopment, lumps or masses. In these cases Rhinoplasty surgery can be used to correct these and can prove to be truly life changing.
  • Broken nose. Nose surgery can be done to help fix and reduce pain in a break that’s been caused through an accident, fall or fight.
  • Confidence and increased self-esteem. I will go more into the psychological health benefits of plastic surgery later, but many people find their confidence soar after nose surgery.
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Breast surgery

The advantages of cosmetic surgery can sometimes be truly life changing. A mastectomy is often a life saving operation performed on both men and women who are suffering from Breast Cancer. During this procedure the breast is either partially or entirely removed depending on the individual situation. Living with breast cancer can be an extremely exhausting both physically and mentally and patients, especially women, are often left feeling like a shadow of their former self after the mastectomy has taken place. A breast augmentation or reconstruction can then be performed, using either implants or existing body tissue, to help restore the missing breast tissue. This can have a huge impact on helping the patient feel like themselves again and thus has a positive effect on the patients mental health.

Although it’s a common occurrence for a woman to have breast augmentation surgery to increase the size of her breasts: For some women her naturally super large breasts are a constant daily source of complaint. Exceptionally large breasts can cause a woman to have poor posture and that, combined with the extra weight of the actual breast, can cause on-going neck, back and shoulder pain. Further physical health issues can be experienced such as chafing, irritation and skin rashes. It may be difficult to buy fashionable, well fitting clothes when you have super large breasts; therefore social situations may be avoided due to shame and embarrassment. Further to this, sporty or extremely active events are also often avoided leading to weight management issues. This can affect a persons confidence and self esteem and in more extreme cases result in loneliness and mental health issues such as depression. The psychological and physical health benefits of plastic surgery in these instances are enormous and symptoms can be significantly reduced if not eliminated when the breasts are reduced.

Other surgeries

There are many other procedures that can offer health benefits in addition to what may be the obvious. Take eyelid surgery for example. In addition to the anti aging benefits and the ability to effectively turn back the clock; many patients enjoy an improvement in their vision after the hooded part of their eyelid has been removed during surgery. A tummy tuck may not just help reduce the excess skin that’s present over the stomach after extreme weight loss or similar; it can also help to repair a separated abdominal muscle and help with back pain and even urinary incontinence. Ear surgery may help improve a person’s quality of life by reducing the number of taunts they hear, on a regular basis such as ‘big ears’ or similar. And finally anti Wrinkle injections are now commonly used to stop excess sweating and hence eliminate or massively reduce the problems associated with this. The advantages of cosmetic surgery truly do go across the board.

Psychological health benefits of plastic surgery.

We’ve already touched upon the mental health advantages of cosmetic surgery, but let’s go into it in a little bit more depth. There have been many links made over the years – connecting a person’s appearance to their self-esteem. If a person feels comfortable in their own skin, then it’s likely that their outlook on life will increase too. Say for example a woman has uneven breasts and one breast is much smaller than the other. She finds it difficult to get clothes to fit properly and she is constantly distracted and embarrassed by the problems this creates. A breast augmentation to make them more symmetrical will mean her attention isn’t constantly on the embarrassment she was previously feeling and her mental health improves. She is much happier in herself and she’s able to concentrate much more on moving forward in her professional and personal life after the surgery. Or what about a mother of several children? She loves her children more than anything in the world, but the combination of several pregnancies, breast feeding and the natural effect of gravity has took its toll on her body. She feels like she is unrecognisable to who she was and somehow has lost part of who she was before having children. A mummy makeover can be created dependant on her individual circumstances and typically may involve procedures such as a tummy tuck, breast uplift and liposuction to help take her body back to what it was before she had her children. She feels vibrant and attractive again and is not only a mother to her beautiful children but regained a sense of who she is beyond being a parent. And finally what about the patient who has lost masses amounts of weight. They have worked so hard – with various diet plans and strict exercise routines and as a result are half the person they were before. They are so proud of themself. But behind closed doors they are left with masses of excess skin. Stretched to the point of no return when they were much bigger in size. No matter what they do, they cannot get rid of the reminder of the days when they had a much larger body mass. The excess skin knocks at their confidence and self esteem. They may avoid public places such as the swimming pool or beach in the summer. As they feel embarrassed and self-conscious and cannot turn their attention away from this fact. A tummy tuck, arm, thigh, breast or even a whole body lift may help such patients finally feel comfortable in their own skin and their mental wellbeing will reflect this. When you feel happy in your own skin, you will emit these positive emotions in everything you do: Which then may help with many areas of your life; relationships, career, home or other.

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But can cosmetic surgery be harmful?

We’ve discussed the advantages of cosmetic surgery, but can it be classed as harmful? And can you get addicted to plastic surgery? Let’s discuss this further.

It’s important to note that all plastic surgery carries a risk. Surgery can and does go wrong with the most educated and highly trained of professionals. You can reduce this risk by doing your homework and putting in the necessary time and effort to thoroughly research your surgeon. Read more about that HERE. So yes sometimes the physical outcome is not what you were expecting.

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Perfection isn’t possible

But what about the psychological risks of surgery? This depends very much on a patients pre-operative expectations of what can be achieved from having the procedure as well as their overall mental and emotional state prior to surgery. If a person is having surgery for purposes other than for themself, this also can bring negative consequences. For example if someone has a breast augmentation as they believe it will make them ‘prettier’ to their partner and hence save a failing relationship or if they believe physical ‘perfection’ is possible and surgery will change their life and eliminate all their life problems: They may likely feel disappointed after surgery and an already fragile mental state may be exasperated further.

Perfection isn’t possible, and for the majority of people they see cosmetic surgery as an opportunity to reduce a perceived imperfection that has been troubling them. A condition called body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) however takes this level of thinking to an extreme. The nature of the disorder means that sufferers have a very negative body image and persistently find fault with multiple areas of their physique. It affects approximately 1.7% to 2.4% of both men and women. Cosmetic surgery in these instances could be classed as harmful. This is because its likely that the patient would have one area ‘fixed’ but the patient is likely to either be dissatisfied with the result or will immediately become fixated on another problem area that needs to be ‘fixed’. If not checked this type of patient risks becoming addicted to surgery as they attempt to achieve ‘perfection’; very often taking their desire for surgery to the extreme and seeing faults where faults just do not exist. If you have a very negative perception of your body and feel strong negative emotions regarding your physical appearance its recommended you see a professional about exploring the possibility of you suffering from body dysmorphic disorder; before you proceed with any form of cosmetic surgery.

So back to the original question, “do the health benefits of plastic surgery outweigh the risks?” The potential bonuses of having cosmetic surgery are very unique to each individual. The majority of people are thrilled with surgery and say that their only regret was that they hadn’t had it done sooner. But then there are others who do regret it. Or at least wish they could go back in time and have done more research on their surgeon. You can reduce the chances of this happening hugely by ensuring you are wanting to proceed with surgery for the right reasons and to make sure you have done as much research as possible to ensure you have picked the right surgeon for your individual case. Do not let cost dictate the surgeon you go to and if you get any negative vibes at all; regardless of how many consultations you have had or whether you have agreed to go ahead:

Its NEVER too late to walk away.

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Be sure to discuss any health concerns to ensure there are no pre-existing conditions that could affect your surgery. And be super honest about your expectations. If you are proceeding with cosmetic surgery for the right reasons, for yourself and nobody else, and you have no underlying health concerns that may compromise your surgery experience; then there is no reason why you shouldn’t proceed forward to enjoy the many advantages of cosmetic surgery for yourself.

Contact me HERE to book a FREE consultation to discuss your individual concerns and to see whether cosmetic surgery could be right for you.