Can Cosmetic Surgery Change Your Life?
I recently came across this article about cosmetic surgery improving the quality of one’s life. An excerpt is shown below. Report: Facial Plastic Surgery Improves Quality of Life Facial plastic surgery improves patients’ quality of life, but the effects are different for men and women, researchers report in the March/April issue of the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery.Jason A. Litner, MD, of the University of Toronto and colleagues conducted a study of 93 facial plastic surgery patients, of whom 82 (88%) were female. While 49% of patients underwent rhinoplasty, the remainder underwent surgery for the aging face. They were assessed after surgery and again 3 months later using the 59-item Derriford Appearance Scale (DAS59).Overall, there were significant improvements in DAS59 scores across all the domains of the scale and for all females, the researchers report. For men, the quality-of-life improvements were only in terms of general self-consciousness of facial appearance, and the quality-of-life domains most affected by rhinoplasty and surgery for the aging face were different.“Studies such as ours call attention to the fact that cosmetic surgery is not a superfluous ‘want’ but rather an answer to an important health concern that, in the patients’ eyes, cuts to the very heart of social desirability. It can, therefore, have implications for psychological happiness and quality of life equivalent to or, perhaps, greater than any other medical intervention,” the authors conclude.
The above article is interesting as it showed that the study respondents felt that cosmetic facial surgery improved their quality of life. I have seen this many times in my own practice, but never push the concept on my patients. Every day, patients return to the office after having small and or large procedures. The look better, they feel better and seem to have a glow about them. At consultation, I never promise that a procedure will change someone’s life, and in fact, I get a bit nervous when that is a patient’s primary reason for seeking surgery. Cosmetic surgery can change one’s life in many ways, but it won’t save a bad marriage or guarantee a job promotion. When patients ask “how much younger will I look” that may send up a red flag on their true intentions of having cosmetic surgery. Obviously we all expect to look younger after cosmetic procedures, but it is impossible to quantify. A doctor can’t tell a patient “if you do this, you will look 17 years younger”! There is no way to measure or guarantee that. Believe me, it sometimes happens. There are some of my patients that have multiple procedures (laser resurfacing and facelift especially) that do look decades younger, but I never promise that.
I do think there is a certain glow that most patients feel after having successful facial and neck rejuvenation. They frequently seem to have a bit more pep in their step, pay more attention to hair make up and clothes. Patients have related it to me with the analogy of how one feels when they take their car to the carwash. You drive in with a dirty car and although you leave with the same car, it really makes you feel good to drive out with a better looking vehicle. One patient told me that they have that same feeling, every day, since having their cosmetic facial surgery. Another example is how a woman feels when they get their hair done. They feel like a new person when they leave the beauty salon.
The bottom line is that cosmetic facial surgery (or any cosmetic surgery) can add to self confidence and boost self esteem and the mood of most patients. There is no guarantee that every patient will feel like this, but in my practice, I see it often. This is one of the most rewarding things for a cosmetic surgeon when he or she sees their work making a positive influence in a patient’s life. There is also no stronger marketing effort as a satisfied patient will spread the work of the surgeon’s skill.
A rational patient and surgeon should not expect miracles but should look forward to many positive changes that accompany cosmetic facial surgeries.
Joe Niamtu, III DMD
Cosmetic Facial Surgery