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A 30-year-old member asked:

does cosmetic surgery cause low self esteem?

8 doctor answers18 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jon Perlman
Plastic Surgery 48 years experience
Usually not.: Many people find their self esteem enhanced by correction of a perceived physical flaw or weakness. In my experience a good cosmetic outcome most usually makes healthy people feel better about themselves and their appearance. Some patients who suffer from body dysmorphic syndrome are felt to be incapable of feeling better about themselves with surgery and should avoid cosmetic surgery.
Dr. Robert W. Alexander
Plastic Surgery 47 years experience
No: Typically it is the other way around....That is, low self esteem is a motivating factor for many to seek consultation and surgery to deal with an area of self concern or dissatisfaction with a body feature. Feeling self conscious about a feature or appearance leds people to seek a change to reduce or correct the perceived problem. Some patients are recommended to seek supportive psychological.
Dr. Ricardo Rodriguez
Plastic Surgery 41 years experience
Not usually: As other surgeons have commented, plastic surgery usually does help improve self esteem because you will have an improved appearance. However, if you have unresolved emotional issue, you should not depend on plastic surgery to solve it. Plastic surgery will enhance your appearance, but it is not a cure all. You should discuss these concerns with your plastic surgeon prior to your surgery!
Dr. Francisco Agullo
Plastic Surgery 20 years experience
No: Usually causes improved self-esteem.
Dr. ELizabeth Kinsley
Plastic Surgery 34 years experience
No: Cosmetic surgery has little to do with self esteem, and certainly doesn't lower it!
Dr. Marguerite Barnett
Plastic Surgery 42 years experience
Self esteem & sx: Surgery can correct a physical problem. Low self esteem is a psychological one and cannot be treated with surgery. Some people who suffer from low self-esteem due to a physical deformity can be helped from cosmetic surgery but low self-esteem from another cause will not be solved. An experienced surgeon's most important job is to figure out whether to operate or not!
Dr. Otto Placik
Plastic Surgery 34 years experience
Usually the opposite: Typically it causes an increase in self esteem if performed for the proper reasons in an appropriate candidate with realistic expectations and a defined goal.
Dr. Jeffrey Rosenthal
Plastic Surgery 44 years experience
Usually improves it: Self-esteem is a complex blend of how we view ourselves from psychological and physical perspective. A consultation with your cosmetic surgeon should touch upon your reasons and desires for surgery. If there is a physical need, viewed by both the patient and surgeon, combined with a realistic attitude about the outcome, by the patient, then self-esteem is usually improved. So is the end result.

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Last updated Dec 9, 2016
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