SAN FRANCISCO – It has been proven that plastic surgery can improve self-esteem, but can it also act as a natural mood enhancer? A significant number of patients stopped taking antidepressant medication after undergoing plastic surgery, according to a study presented today at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery 2006 conference in San Francisco.
"Plastic surgery patients are taking a proactive approach in making themselves happier by improving something that has truly bothered them," said Bruce Freedman, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and study author. "While we are not saying that cosmetic plastic surgery alone is responsible for the drop in patients needing antidepressants, it surely is an important factor."
In the study, 362 patients had cosmetic plastic surgery – 17 percent or 61 patients were taking antidepressants. Six months after surgery, however, that number decreased 31 percent, down to 42 patients. In addition, 98 percent of patients said cosmetic plastic surgery had markedly improved their self-esteem.
All of the patients, who were primarily middle-aged women, had an invasive cosmetic plastic surgery procedure such as breast augmentation, tummy tuck or facelift. The authors did not identify any other major life changes that may have affected patients' use of antidepressants.
"We have just begun to uncover the various physical and psychological benefits of plastic surgery," said Dr. Freedman. "By helping our patients take control over something they were unhappy about, we helped remove a self-imposed barrier and ultimately improved their self-esteem."
For referrals to ASPS Member Surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, call 888-4-PLASTIC (475-2784) or visit www.plasticsurgery.org where you can also learn more about cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. With more than 6,000 members, the society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Note: The study "Cosmetic Surgery and the Use of Antidepressant Medication" is being presented in electronic format, Sunday, Oct. 8 – Tuesday, Oct. 10, at the Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco. Reporters can register to attend Plastic Surgery 2006 and arrange interviews with presenters by logging on to www.plasticsurgery.org/news_room/Registration.cfm or by contacting ASPS Public Relations at (847) 228-9900 or in San Francisco, Oct. 7-11 at (415) 905-1730.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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