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Excessive cosmetic surgeries may affect sense of identity

Apr 17th 2012 at 6:30 AM

Some people are so obsessed to look perfect that they seek several plastic surgery procedures in a single day without realizing its effects. According to US psychologists, plastic surgery that brings significant changes to the appearance of a person can have negative effects on one’s sense of identity.

According to psychologist Dr. Vivian Diller, patients who have had a major plastic surgery procedure often realize that their imperfection is a part of their unique identity. For instance, the size of the eyes or a slightly off nose is a unique feature that might be part of how one defines herself, without really realizing it.

Once these unique features are gone, the self-definition of a person can suffer. Patients may feel detached from their new faces, which no longer feel like their own, says Dr. Diller.

According to Dr. Z. Paul Lorenc, who practices in New York, only few patients demand their smile or eyes to look the same after a plastic surgery. Most patients want to look better; they want to resemble a certain model or actor. This suggests an inherent desire among patients to be somebody else, a well-known person who, in the mind of the patient, lives a perfect life.

To ensure that patients are seeking plastic surgery for the right reason, some doctors screen their patients first. As for Dr. Lorenc, he refers his patients to a psychiatrist once he suspects that there is a psychological condition such as body dysmorphic disorder in his patient.

This kind of screening, however, does not happen often, says therapist Daniela Schreier, who has been treating patients with surgery-related issues. Some plastic surgeons are not willing to make psychological screening a requirement for the industry, worrying that it might hurt the business, she adds.

The extent to which major plastic surgery procedures will affect one’s sense of self is hard to predict. Surgeons cannot always determine if patients will still feel like their old selves when their faces are totally different.

As the sense of identity of a person solidifies at a young age, during the adolescence period, any small or large physical changes will need some form of mental adjustment. The adjustment may take longer in case of drastic changes.


NOTE : This article is originally posted by plasticsurgeryblog.

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