Cosmetic Surgery and Happiness

Rhinoplasty - Nose JobThe issue of happiness as it relates to cosmetic surgery is multifaceted. Cosmetic surgery can sometimes play a role in adding to someone’s happiness.  However, it is not possible to create or initiate happiness in an individual through cosmetic surgery when they are not happy with life in general. These issues should be dealt with before surgery.

The patients must ask themselves if they are happy in general. If they feel that they are not happy and are hoping that the cosmetic surgery will make them happy, they are going to be disappointed. In this situation the patient should consult a psychiatrist or a psychologist prior to undergoing any cosmetic procedure.

The patient might find out that he/she has an underlying psychological issue that makes them a poor candidate for cosmetic surgery.  Fortunately the mental health professionals have come a long way in diagnosing and properly treating mental illness and psychological issues. The hardest part is for the patient to have insight and motivation to seek such help. This is where a trained plastic surgeon can intervene and tell the patient that they are not a good candidate. This has to be done tactfully as some patients might not handle this news very well.

This is a good indicator of how the patient would have behaved after surgery if there were any complications. It is important for the plastic surgeon to always be mindful of subtle signs of psychological illness. Like all things in life, gut feeling goes a long way. If a plastic surgeon is unsure about a patient it is best to delay the procedure and have the patient come back for a second consultation. It can take multiple visits to find out more detail about the patient and their level of happiness.

In medicine we use vital signs to assess a patient’s physical health that include heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature. For plastic surgery patients we should consider happiness level to be a vital sign. If someone is below 5 or 6 on a scale of 1 being the least happy and 10 being the happiest, then it is a red flag. Like other things in medicine determining these issues is more art than science.  Until the time that science develops thought and mind reading machines we are left at the mercy of our intuition.

Despite all the concerns mentioned above majority of cosmetic patients do well after a procedure and find that it added to their level of happiness.