Cosmetic surgery is about feeling confident with and within your body
There’s a longstanding stigma that cosmetic surgery is all about vanity and perfectionism, often overlooking the potential mental health benefits of working with a skilled cosmetic surgeon. While plastic surgery is not a fix for psychological matters, some research – like a 2022 Iranian study – has shown that in some cases, cosmetic surgery can improve self-esteem and body image. That’s most likely your surgeon’s ultimate goal – not perfection.
And, whether you encounter a plastic surgeon at a party or your first office consult, try not to feel self-conscious that they’re checking your appearance for things they’d love to fix. “Although people often assume we do, aesthetic surgeons don’t look at the physical aspects of people to determine what they ‘need,’” says plastic surgeon, Dr Sergio Alvarez. “It’s more about how the patient feels about themselves.”
Cosmetic surgery is about feeling confident with and within your body and your overall general happiness with yourself, he adds – and these are the first things cosmetic surgeons notice about you to help you get there.
1. What you’re hiding
People will often subconsciously hide the features they’re not confident about, explains plastic surgeon, Dr Anil Shah. “For example, if someone doesn’t like their nose, they’ll often wear glasses; if they have a weaker jawline, sometimes they grow a beard; or if they are losing their hair, they’ll wear a hat,” he says. “The goal with plastic surgery is to make those features something they want to display rather than conceal.”
2. Your mood and demeanour
“When I first walk in the door [to meet a patient], I get a sense of their mood,” says cosmetic dermatologist and plastic surgeon, Dr Nadir Qazi. “Is [cosmetic surgery] something they’re excited to do? Or is this something they feel they have to do, being forced into for whatever reason?”
Rather than searching for ‘flaws’ or ways to make improvements, Dr Alvarez adds that a good aesthetic surgeon observes how patients stand or sit, how they present themselves, how they dress, and what parts of their body they cover. “We look for these and other clues that tell us what parts of their bodies make patients uncomfortable and tell us how they feel.”