The Mental Health Benefits of Plastic Surgery

The benefits of plastic surgery extend beyond helping people improve their physical appearance — here's how plastic surgery can provide a mental health boost. 

Plastic surgery can help people revitalize their physical appearance. At the same time, plastic surgery can provide many mental health benefits, including: 

  1. Plastic Surgery Can Help People Minimize Their Depression Symptoms 

Depression is among the most common mood disorders in the United States, and it can hamper a person's ability to work, go to school, and socialize with family members and friends. It can also cause people to feel self-conscious about their physical appearance, to the point where they forgo meals or eat too much or experience other physical or emotional symptoms that negatively affect their overall well-being. 

Doctors may prescribe medication, psychotherapy, or other treatment options to help depression patients manage their symptoms. However, research indicates plastic surgery can help people simultaneously enhance their appearance and alleviate symptoms of depression. 

A 2013 study was used to evaluate 544 patients who underwent aesthetic surgery (surgery group) and 264 participants who did not (comparison group). The social and psychological well-being of study participants was evaluated at three-, six-, and 12-month intervals. 

The aforementioned study revealed positive outcomes for surgery group members who were coping with depression. Additionally, the study showed that surgery group members reported positive outcomes related to their mental and physical health and overall well-being. 

  1. Plastic Surgery Can Help People Improve Their Self-Esteem 

Physical defects of the nose, cheeks, and other facial features can damage a person's self-esteem. These issues can lead people to avoid social settings, due to the fact that they are embarrassed about their physical appearance. They can also cause people to experience poor self-esteem, which can be linked to depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. 

Poor self-esteem can make it difficult for people to function. It can hinder a person's ability to connect with others and enjoy life to the fullest extent. But, plastic surgery can help people bolster their physical appearance, which can lead to improved self-esteem going forward. 

To understand the link between self-esteem and plastic surgery, consider the results of a recent study of 84 women between the ages of 21 and 57 years old. The study was used to assess the self-esteem and sexuality of women before and after cosmetic breast augmentation.


The study indicated that participants' self-esteem was often directly related to their breast augmentation. On average, participants' average self-esteem score was higher after they underwent breast augmentation as well. 

  1. Plastic Surgery Can Help People Enhance Their Mood 

On its own, plastic surgery won't change a person's life. Yet, research indicates plastic surgery can deliver a significant boost to a person's mood — and it may reduce or eliminate a person's need to take antidepressant medication for mood management.  

In a 2006 study, researchers evaluated 362 men and women who underwent tummy tucks, facelifts, and other cosmetic procedures. Prior to their procedures, 17% of study participants were not taking antidepressants to help manage their mood. Six months after undergoing a cosmetic procedure, 31% of participants who were taking antidepressants at the beginning of the study no longer needed their medications. 

  1. Plastic Surgery Can Help People Bolster Their Quality of Life 

Quality of life can impact a person's self-esteem. If people experience physical issues that hamper their quality of life, they may be more prone to experience poor self-esteem. These people may also struggle with depression and various mood disorders related to their self-esteem issues. 

Plastic surgery can help people treat physical issues that hamper their quality of life, along with improve self-esteem and reduce the risk of long-lasting mood disorder symptoms. This is reflected in a study of 35 women who underwent plastic surgery to correct asymmetrical breasts. 

In the study, participants were asked about their quality of life and self-esteem three and six months after they underwent plastic surgery. The study indicated that these participants frequently reported improved quality of life and self-esteem following treatment. 

Is Plastic Surgery Right for You? Factors to Consider 

People who are considering plastic surgery should assess the physical and mental health benefits of treatment. To fully understand these benefits, it is paramount to meet with a board-certified surgeon who can offer insights into all aspects of a cosmetic procedure. 

A board-certified Plastic Surgeon has a simple goal: to help a patient rejuvenate their appearance. To accomplish this goal, a surgeon performs a full evaluation of a patient. The surgeon learns about the patient's medical history and finds out why he or she is considering a cosmetic procedure. In doing so, the surgeon can offer a personalized treatment recommendation to a patient, so he or she can undergo a safe, effective cosmetic treatment.


Along with evaluating a patient and offering a custom treatment recommendation, a board-certified surgeon can explain the pros and cons of different cosmetic procedures. The surgeon can also respond to any concerns or questions regarding plastic surgery. That way, a patient is well-equipped to decide if one or more plastic surgeries are right for him or her.


As you evaluate plastic surgery options and try to determine if any of these options are right for you, meet with a board-certified surgeon. This meeting enables you to gain comprehensive insights into plastic surgery, how it works, and what to expect following treatment. Perhaps best of all, the meeting allows you to share your concerns and questions with a plastic surgery expert, so you can determine which cosmetic procedures — if any — align with your physical and mental health goals.