The Psychological Side of Plastic Surgery

It’s what’s inside that counts, and plastic surgery is certainly more than skin deep. We’ve all heard the expression “the clothes make the man.” Looking your best helps you feel your best. This impacts so many aspects of your everyday life, whether you’re out and about or working from home.

For better or worse, countless research studies have proven that physical appearance affects how a person is treated by others. People that are considered attractive are more likely to receive help, less likely to be punished, perceived to be more successful, and more likely to be romantically desired. (1)  Small wonder then that the number of cosmetic procedures performed in the United States rose from approximately 15,000 in 1949 to 15.7 million in 2016! (2) However, the majority of patients who undergo cosmetic procedures aren’t doing it for others. They’re doing it for themselves.

Dr. Gregory M. Fedele uses his artistic eye to help each person become the best version of themselves, and celebrating his patients’ results is always the highlight of his day. 

When we consider the effects of plastic surgery, it’s the psychological transformation that is ultimately the most rewarding aspect of this unique field of medicine. If you’ve been looking for a way to upgrade your appearance and your confidence, contact Dr. Fedele’s friendly office. You can reach our Cleveland office by calling (216) 464-1616.

Loving Yourself

We certainly all have a physical feature we’re not entirely thrilled about. Being dissatisfied with a certain body part did make research study participants more likely to consider plastic surgery. However, many studies have found that patients considering plastic surgery actually have high levels of self-esteem! This may sound surprising, but when you consider the investment that plastic surgery requires, it makes sense. Patients rightfully believe that they’re worth it and they deserve it. And, doesn’t it feel good to make a decision?

Deciding to improve yourself is an empowering experience. Patients that undergo cosmetic procedures don’t just enjoy satisfying aesthetic results. They have the additional satisfaction of knowing that they followed through on a decision to make a positive change in their life.

Benefits and More Benefits

plastic surgery cleveland ohio

A recent study of married women who underwent cosmetic surgery confirms the idea that choosing self-improvement can be just as gratifying as the physical improvement itself. In this study, the women reported dramatic improvements in their marital satisfaction after their procedures. However, it wasn’t the end results that necessarily improved things at home: it turned out that even planning for their cosmetic surgery and, anticipating their results sparked joy. Although their partners weren’t surveyed, it’s safe to assume they also enjoyed their wives’ enthusiasm whether or not the results mattered to them. The benefits of plastic surgery don’t stop with the patient.

The participating women in the study attributed their cosmetic procedures as contributing to greater self-confidence, success in married life, higher social status and prestige, and a more powerful role in their family.

Feeling your best can improve your relationships, and allow you the confidence to pursue new ones. In another study, women who underwent breast enhancement surgery reported:

  • A greater sense of femininity 
  • Higher attractiveness, confidence in the presence of men
  • Improved sex life 
  • A facilitated finding of partners (3)

If you’re curious how a little pick me up can make a big difference, schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Fedele. You’ve got nothing to lose!

Primum Non Nocere – First, Do No Harm!

Plastic surgery is unlike any other medical practice. It is a science with objective techniques, indications, and outcomes. However, personal aesthetics are subjective! What’s just right for one patient is way too much for another. Criteria for evaluating the before and afters can be complicated, as every patient has unique anatomy and desires. Plastic surgeons often have the challenging task of fulfilling patient’s requests without compromising the patient’s health or future happiness. In this way, plastic surgery frequently raises ethical concerns. However, ethics is foundational to the practice of all medicine. Medical students take oaths to always put the patient’s best interest first, and abide by other principles that are to guide their practice for the duration of their medical education and career. So, when it comes to elective cosmetic surgery, a doctor needs to ensure that a patient is healthy, and will continue to be healthy after treatment. But it’s not just a matter of avoiding infection or managing swelling. Good psychological health before beginning a procedure is crucial. After all, the goal of cosmetic procedures is to improve psychological health and well-being!

It Takes Two

Plastic surgeons are trained to evaluate the psychological state of potential patients. Undergoing elective procedures is a partnership between you and your plastic surgeon, and both parties need to be up to the task. Dr. Fedele insists on meeting with his patients at least twice before their procedure so that both he and the patient can be sure that their plastic surgery will be a rewarding success.

It’s important to make sure that patients are: 

  • Emotionally well adjusted 
  • Confident in their decision 
  • Motivated by the desire for self-improvement
  • Not responding to pressure from a partner or society
  • Willing to commit to their results
  • Willing to participate in the necessary responsibilities for a healthy preparation and recovery
  • Have realistic expectations
  • Have a positive attitude

It’s also important that you feel comfortable trusting your plastic surgeon. Dr. Fedele is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and trained at one of the top accredited Plastic Surgery Training Centers in the country: The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. If his awards, experience, and glowing patient reviews aren’t enough to put you at ease, his supportive and artistic approach to plastic surgery certainly will. To learn more about what goes on behind the scenes at a plastic surgery practice, follow Dr. Fedele’s blog.

plastic surgery Cleveland

Health Is Wealth

Some scholars argue that cosmetic procedures have become more popular because we have a more comprehensive understanding of what makes us healthy. People today are more aware of their psychological health than ever before. (4) Plastic surgery has proven psychological effects, which emphasizes the therapeutic dimension of cosmetics. A healthy appreciation and perception of our bodies affects how we move through the world. Part of how we see ourselves is how we imagine others see us. This gets tricky because how we see others is also colored by how we see ourselves! Scientists studying the psychological effects of rhinoplasty investigated this phenomenon.

 It’s been proven that our self-image has a direct relationship to our personality, productivity, and attitude.

When we feel that others see us in a negative light, or notice something about us that we don’t like, it affects our self-image and often our self-esteem, which can lead to psychological disorders like anxiety and depression. It’s highly unlikely these rhinoplasty patients endured harassment about the appearance of their noses, but there was something more important at work.

The face conveys our emotional states, often without our realizing it. Patients suffering from anxiety and depression were also impacting their communication with others. Improving a patient’s self-image by adjusting their nose also improved their mental, emotional, and functional well-being. This can lead to an improved social presence that can have an immensely beneficial impact on the patient’s professionalism, productivity, and overall quality of life. (5)

Plastic Surgery’s Potential

A group of Italian plastic surgeons put it beautifully: “For this very reason, cosmetic surgery may also be regarded as ‘the surgery of the soul.’”

It should be noted that the effects of plastic surgery are not simply the result of the search for external perfection, implemented through the correction of a physical defect, but have consequences on individuals in their entirety, that is, body and spirit.” (4)

Plastic surgery doesn’t just change your appearance, it changes how you see yourself. It’s impossible to prove whether a smaller nose or larger breasts will improve a person’s life. But you don’t need to delve into research studies to understand that feeling your best and enjoying newfound confidence can be truly life-changing. Satisfied patients are able to continue their life with a greater appreciation of their bodies and enjoy their appearance. When we have the confidence to love ourselves, we can better love the people around us. That’s what makes the world a beautiful place.


  1. Alotaibi AS. Demographic and Cultural Differences in the Acceptance and Pursuit of Cosmetic Surgery: A Systematic Literature Review. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open. 2021;9(3):e3501. doi:10.1097/gox.0000000000003501
  2. Davai NR, Kalantar-Hormozi A, Ganji K, Abbaszadeh-Kasbi A. The Impact of Cosmetic Surgery on Women’s Marital Satisfaction and Self-Concept. World Journal of Plastic Surgery. 2018;7(3):337-344. doi:10.29252/wjps.7.3.337
  3. Barone M, Cogliandro A, Persichetti P. Ethics and Plastic Surgery/What is Plastic Surgery? Archives of Plastic Surgery. 2017;44(1):90-92. doi:10.5999/aps.2017.44.1.90
  4. Shauly O, Calvert J, Stevens G, Rohrich R, Villanueva N, Gould DJ. Assessment of Wellbeing and Anxiety-related Disorders in Those Seeking Rhinoplasty: A Crowdsourcing-based Study. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open. 2020;8(4). doi:10.1097/GOX.0000000000002737
  • Share: