While research has shown that plastic surgery can aid self-esteem, can a surgical procedure also improve mood? According to a study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), a significant number of patients stopped taking antidepressant medication after undergoing plastic surgery.
“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.”