Dr. Branman Awards Dr. Rhys Branman's Cosmetic Surgery Blog

Know Thyself

January 15, 2020 - Rhys Branman, MD

In a fascinating blog in the New York Times, the author points out the “democratization of beauty” that is available with cosmetic surgery. When we think about psychology and cosmetic surgery, we often think about Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) or conversely, research that points to increased quality of life after cosmetic procedures.  It is true that there are many controversies about the effect of cosmetic surgery on body image. As science continues to produce more longitudinal studies, more and more people continue to choose elective surgery. I try to present a few facts and some of the research on my website blog, and discuss motivations for surgery. However, it seems that no matter what, people want to be beautiful. The author of the blog I mentioned said, “Beauty is unfair: the attractive enjoy privileges and powers gained without merit.  As such it can offend egalitarian values.” Alexander Edmonds, who wrote the article, noted that perhaps less economically successful people saw beauty as a way to even the scales of economic inequality.

Some patients seem to believe that their surgeon will disapprove of their motives. It is critically important to talk about why you want cosmetic surgery. There is nothing wrong with wanting to correct a perceived flaw in order to increase self confidence or compete on the job market. Maintaining a youthful appearance can be important in business also. We live in a youth oriented culture. I’m not judging these things; I am simply stating these facts.  Breast augmentationsliposuction, and blepharoplasty are among the most common procedures patients seek. And these procedures can improve lives. Historically, physical defects were associated with moral defects. We like to believe those days are gone, but still somehow we are attracted to a person’s beauty. Cultural factors have always influenced our perception of beauty, and probably always will.

So although wanting more self confidence is a good goal to hold, cosmetic surgery will not give you self confidence if it is not already there. Seeking to improve self-confidence and self-esteem with cosmetic surgery alone will probably fail. Cosmetic surgery will only improve your looks, not emotional and mental health. To quote Socrates “Know Thyself.” One psychologist, Matt Shollenberger, has created a taxonomy of inappropriate surgical candidates. These include:

  • The Idealist: This person has unrealistic expectations of surgery.
  • The Chaotic: This person is in a crisis and needs to be “fixed”.
  • The Unstable: This person may present as psychologically unstable, have a severe personality disorder, or simply be psychotic.
  • The Jumper: This person jumps from surgeon to surgeon looking for the doctor that will tell them exactly what they want to hear.
  • The Pleaser: This is the person who seeks out surgery for someone else.

The point is, that cosmetic surgery will not make these people happy. At Little Rock Cosmetic Surgery Center, we want patients to be satisfied with their cosmetic procedures. To do this, we recommend the correct procedures to the appropriate candidates, always taking the patient’s goal as the primary factor.

Call Melinda at the front desk to set up a consultation at 501-227-0707

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