The Negative and Positive Effects of Cosmetic Surgery

Last Updated: 20 Apr 2022
Pages: 5 Views: 892

Are you considering cosmetic surgery? The numbers of individuals electing these surgeries are growing rapidly each year. Much of this rapid growth is because of advances in technology that have made plastic surgery techniques both safer and more affordable, as well as cutting down on recovery time. Cosmetic surgery improves body image and self-esteem and reconstructive surgery fixes irregularities such as hereditary disorders, birth defects, or other health issues. These surgeries are an extremely popular method to enhance self-esteem but there are risks an individual should know before having a surgical procedure.

Although these surgeries have been practiced for years, they can be harmful and many individuals may expose themselves to an expensive addiction if they are not satisfied with the original results. However, these surgeries can be beneficial by positively shaping many aspects of patient’s lives especially if no complications arise. Although most individuals are largely unaffected by the risks and eager to obtain surgery, it is important to emphasize the negative and positive effect when considering surgery.

Although all surgeries have certain risk factors, individuals considering surgery electively subject themselves to be at risk of certain medical and appearance conditions. It is important to be aware of any complications that may occur such as an adverse effect to anesthesia. For example, complications or risks of anesthesia include blood clots, stroke, and heart palpitations. Even though a certified surgeon will do their best to minimize any complications, patients should be aware of medical and appearance conditions that have the potential to occur.

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Since surgery involves altering the physical appearance, the surgeon will need to make alterations to the skin that may cause unwanted effects such as asymmetry or other irregularities. With any surgery risk scarring is expected but the surgeon will be able to minimize that risk after the procedure. However, there are ways to help reduce the risks and complications of surgery. First, the potential patient should choose an appropriate surgeon. The patient will need to locate a surgeon who specializes in cosmetic or reconstructive surgery procedures.

When conducting research on appropriate surgeons, ensure recognition by the American Board of Medical Specialties. The American Board of Medical Specialties includes the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (Mayo Clinic, 2011). Second, when the patient has located a potential surgeon they deem suitable, the patient should request proof of their certifications and successful surgeries. Third, the patient and surgeon should have a consultation.

If the patient establishes reachable goals prior to surgery, he or she will be please with the end results. Finally, if the potential surgeon deems the patient acceptable for surgery, the patient can schedule an appointment. After surgery, the patient should follow the instruction of the surgeon to have a safe and healthy recovery process without negative effects. Thus, the negative effects of surgery are an important part of the decision process. The patients should be attentive of the importance to have realistic expectations when having a surgical procedure done.

The website WebMD (2011) explains that if an individual is unhappy with their general appearance, cosmetic surgery is not right for the individual because they would want to obtain more than one procedure. Patients expecting dramatic results have the potential to go through periods of depression or anxiety. A surgery such as rhinoplasty is worthwhile for individuals that were teased and unaccepted because of a larger or wider nose. Another example would be an individual who has large breasts and would want to reduce the size because of severe back pain.

In comparison, an individual who has smaller breasts but would want to dramatically enlarge them, this may cause people to stare or have a negative perception of the individual. It is important for the patient not to assume or expect people to be pleased with the new image. Patients may experience unwanted attention or disappointment when changing their appearance from close friends, family and the workplace. The changes to physical appearance may cause social challenges involving disapproving looks; it may cause the patient to feel isolated or bitter towards others.

Challenges such as these may be hard to manage emotionally and mentally for several reasons. One reason is that surgery results may not appear until days or weeks after the surgery. Patients should realize their appearance will be worse before a significant difference is seen. Another reason is postoperative depression which can be common with surgery. Although surgeons are confident that a surgery is successful, some patients endure feelings of misery and despair that may last weeks after the surgery.

Depression can have many causes and it is unknown why it occurs in patients who have cosmetic or reconstructive surgery. Some specific symptoms of post operative depression include loss of energy, appetite and lack of interest in recovering that can interfere with recuperation. During the recovery process, patients may isolate themselves because the results of the surgery are not automatically seen. Patients should also be aware that all procedures are not everlasting and may require follow-up procedures thus causing a financial strain.

On the other hand, there are positive effects of cosmetic surgery such as an enhanced quality of life. An enhanced quality of life represents the improvement of an individual’s emotional, physical, psychological and social well-being. According to The Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery (2011) website, in 2005 the American Society of Plastic Surgeons performed a study that found 75 percent of the patients chose cosmetic surgery to improve their appearance and have a more active lifestyle.

Seventy percent of the patients expressed emotional and mental rewards post surgery. They were happier and had a renewed confidence and higher self-esteem. Forty-five percent have enjoyed the benefit of being more attractive. While there are many reasons why individuals obtain cosmetic surgery; one of the major reasons is to enhance their individual appearance to improve their self-image. Countless adults suffered emotional distress as children and countless children suffer currently because of the heartlessness of their peers.

Surgery may be beneficial in these cases because an individual may have developed a negative perception regarding their looks because of their peers. Individuals suffering from scarred tissue due to burns or other deformities can benefit from surgery. In addition, women who lost their breasts due to cancer may choose breast augmentation as a method to regain their confidence. For these types of individuals, the benefits may outweigh the risks. Of course, patients should be realistic by learning about procedures and how they will benefit from them.

Patients should be aware that the surgery should be completed by a qualified surgeon. It is critical for the patient to thoroughly research surgeons to increase the possibility of having positive results. A patient should know the length of recovery and how long it will be to see the final results. If the potential patient has a realistic outlook regarding cosmetic surgery, is psychologically competent, and is aware of the negative and positive effects, then he or she is ready to have the selected procedure.


Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery. (2011). Emotional changes after plastic surgery: What you need to know. Retrieved from Mayo Clinic. (2011). Cosmetic surgery: What to know beforehand. Retrieved from WedMD. (2011). Cosmetic surgery and procedures - Overview (continued). Retrieved from

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The Negative and Positive Effects of Cosmetic Surgery. (2017, Apr 11). Retrieved from

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