The authors reviewed the literature on psychological and psychosocial outcomes for individuals undergoing cosmetic surgery, to address whether elective cosmetic procedures improve psychological well-being and psychosocial functioning and whether there are identifiable predictors of an unsatisfactory psychological outcome. They conducted a search of appropriate computerized databases for studies that evaluated psychological and psychosocial status both before and after elective cosmetic surgery. They identified 37 relevant studies of varying cosmetic procedures that utilized disparate methodologies. Overall, patients appeared generally satisfied with the outcome of their procedures, although some exhibited transient and some exhibited longer-lasting psychological disturbance. Factors associated with poor psychosocial outcome included being young, being male, having unrealistic expectations of the procedure, previous unsatisfactory cosmetic surgery, minimal deformity, motivation based on relationship issues, and a history of depression, anxiety, or personality disorder. Body dysmorphic disorder was also recognized by some studies as a predictor of poor outcome, a finding reinforced by reference to the psychiatric literature. The authors conclude that although most people appear satisfied with the outcome of cosmetic surgical procedures, some are not, and attempts should be made to screen for such individuals in cosmetic surgery settings.
Melbourne, Australia; and Providence, R.I.
From the School of Social Work and the Mental Health Research Institute, University of Melbourne; and Brown University School of Medicine and Butler Hospital.
Received for publication May 20, 2002;
revised July 10, 2003.
David J. Castle, M.Sc., M.D.
Mental Health Research Institute
University of Melbourne
155 Oak Street
Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia