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Semin Cutan Med Surg. 1999 Jun;18(2):101-11.

Cosmetic surgery: surgical tools--psychosocial goals.

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Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


What determines patients' goals for cosmetic surgery and their satisfaction with the outcome? Historical trends, body image theory, evolutionary biology, and clinical and experimental psychology each contribute answers. The physical changes that patients seek are typically a means to psychosocial goals. Individual objectives vary, but often share an origin in recurrent painful feelings, thoughts, or experiences. Surgical goals include: (1) changes in emotional states or cognitions; (2) improvement in interpersonal relationships; and (3) an altering of reactions of the larger society. Psychological studies of cosmetic surgery patients have been designed primarily to address two fundamental questions: (1) is there a preoperative psychological profile of cosmetic surgery patients; and (2) does cosmetic surgery produce enduring, beneficial psychological change? The use of specialized screening interview questions, and effective collaboration with mental health providers, help a wider range of patients achieve successful surgical outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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