Time after time, research shows that plastic surgery can have a tremendous impact on the patient’s overall self-esteem. However, boosting self-esteem and actually treating depression are two very different things. In fact, one study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons shows that many patients stop taking antidepressants after plastic surgery.

An Interesting Theory

Oftentimes, people who battle depression on a daily basis feel helpless – even hopeless. Plastic surgery is a proactive approach to self-improvement, which may empower some people suffering from depression. Sometimes, individuals who have prominent facial or body features may be subjected to bullying and criticism alongside their own self disdain, which often leads to depression. By proactively addressing these features with plastic surgery, individuals feel better about themselves, thus alleviating some of the sadness and hopelessness they feel.

The Study

A small study conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) focused on a group of 362 patients scheduled for a variety of cosmetic surgery procedures. Prior to their surgeries, 61 patients (17%) were taking some sort of prescription antidepressant. Six months following their procedures, that number fell to 42 patients, a decrease of 31%. What’s more, an astonishing 98% of all of the patients reported a vast improvement in their overall self-esteem.

The Real Belief

Regardless of the small nature of the study and the lack of control questions, it only makes sense that, in many cases, plastic surgery can have a tremendous impact on a patients’ need to use antidepressants. Many people develop mental barriers related to their physical appearance, as this is simply human nature. Someone who feels young on the inside but shows his or her age on the outside often feels incredibly limited by his or her appearance, and a facelift can certainly alleviate that barrier and provide new freedom to boost self-esteem.

What this Means for the Future

Psychologists will likely never recommend or prescribe plastic surgery to treat depression, but studies like this one may actually have an effect on the procedures that an insurance company deems “necessary”. Cosmetic procedures are usually coined “elective” or “not medically necessary”, meaning patients must pay out of pocket. If more and more insurance providers (and physicians alike) come to understand that plastic surgery can alleviate depression and do away with the need to take antidepressants over the long-term, they may begin covering such surgeries under their insurance plans.

There is no denying that for some people, plastic surgery can provide such a massive boost to their overall self-esteem that depression seems to fall to the wayside. Before considering plastic surgery to help reduce the symptoms of depression, however, patients should seek therapy in order to get to the root of the problem itself.

Meet Our Doctors

Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel

Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel

With special expertise in all aspects of facial plastic surgery, and a particular skill for revision surgery, it’s clear why Dr. Spiegel is one of the most celebrated facial plastic surgeons in the world. If you are seeking the best possible results, or have a uniquely challenging problem, you’ve found the right doctor.

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Dr. Onir L. Spiegel

Dr. Onir L. Spiegel

Dr. Onir (pronounced “oh-near”) has years of experience in facial aesthetics and treats some of the most recognizable and famous faces. Dr. Onir started her career in oral health, earning doctorate degrees from both New York University and Boston University. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her cutting-edge medical research as well as her technical skills in dentistry.

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Dr. Jacob Tower

Dr. Jacob Tower

A board-certified specialist in facial plastic surgery, Dr. Jacob Tower brings a thoughtful approach and an artistic eye to New England’s premier plastic surgery practice, The Spiegel Center in Newton, Massachusetts. In addition to being an in-demand surgeon, Dr. Tower is an assistant professor at the Boston University School of Medicine, a sought-after lecturer, and an expert in facial plastic surgery.

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