Does cosmetic surgery improve psychosocial wellbeing?

David J Castle, Roberta J Honigman and Katharine A Phillips
Med J Aust 2002; 176 (12): 601-604.


  • Both men and women are becoming increasingly concerned about their physical appearance and are seeking cosmetic enhancement.

  • Most studies report that people are generally happy with the outcome of cosmetic procedures, but little rigorous evaluation has been done.

  • More extensive ("type change") procedures (eg, rhinoplasty) appear to require greater psychological adjustment by the patient than "restorative" procedures (eg, face-lift).

  • Patients who have unrealistic expectations of outcome are more likely to be dissatisfied with cosmetic procedures.

  • Some people are never satisfied with cosmetic interventions, despite good procedural outcomes. Some of these have a psychiatric disorder called "body dysmorphic disorder".

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  • David J Castle1
  • Roberta J Honigman2
  • Katharine A Phillips3

  • 1 Mental Health Research Institute, and University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC.
  • 2 School of Social Work, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 Body Dysmorphic Disorder Program, Brown University School of Medicine, and Butler Hospital, Providence, RI, USA.


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