A Review of Psychosocial Outcomes for Patients Seeking Cosmetic Surgery

We focus on those individuals who are dissatisfied with objectively successful cosmetic procedures

Roberta J. Honigman; Katharine A. Phillips; David J. Castle


Scholarcy highlights

  • The authors reviewed the literature on psychological and psychosocial outcomes for individuals undergoing cosmetic surgery, to address whether elective cosmetic procedures improve psychological well-being and psychosocial functioning and whether there are identifiable predictors of an unsatisfactory psychological outcome
  • We included studies that assessed subjective ratings of satisfaction with the cosmetic procedures as well as variables such as distress, body image, self-esteem, mood, social confidence, social interaction, and quality of life. We included only those studies that evaluated psychological and psychosocial status both before and after elective cosmetic surgery procedures, as this review focuses on change in psychological/psychosocial status with cosmetic procedures and predictors of such outcomes
  • We included data on study type, types of procedure, main psychological and psychosocial measures used, and parameters associated with a poor outcome
  • Sarwer et al., in a study undertaken to investigate changes in body image following cosmetic surgery procedures, found at preoperative investigation that 7 percent of women who sought cosmetic surgery procedures met diagnostic criteria for body dysmorphic disorder
  • Studies from the psychiatric literature suggest the body dysmorphic disorder patients usually have a poor psychosocial outcome following cosmetic procedures and that occasional patients with the disorder are even violent toward the treating surgeon
  • Several predictors of poor outcome do emerge from the literature, suggesting that surgeons should be cautious in performing cosmetic procedures on individuals with these characteristics
  • Such questionnaires would have the benefit of operationalizing what is currently an impressionistic process with no clear or universally accepted guidelines

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