The Complexities and Consequences of Cosmetic Surgery

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 775 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Jun 6, 2024

Words: 775|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Jun 6, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Psychological Impact
  3. Medical and Health Considerations
  4. Societal Implications
  5. Conclusion


Cosmetic surgery, once a privilege exclusive to the affluent and famous, has permeated mainstream society, becoming a significant aspect of contemporary life. The proliferation of social media and the omnipresent influence of celebrity culture have contributed to this phenomenon. This essay seeks to explore the multifaceted arguments surrounding cosmetic surgery, weighing the psychological, medical, and societal implications of this burgeoning industry. While proponents argue that cosmetic surgery can enhance self-esteem and quality of life, opponents contend that it perpetuates unrealistic beauty standards and can result in serious health risks.

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The Psychological Impact

Advocates of cosmetic surgery frequently emphasize its potential to boost self-esteem and improve mental well-being. Studies suggest that individuals who undergo cosmetic procedures often experience a significant enhancement in body image and self-confidence. According to a study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, patients reported reduced levels of anxiety and depression following cosmetic surgery, alongside an overall improvement in their quality of life (von Soest et al., 2011). This suggests that, for some, cosmetic surgery can be a valuable tool in addressing psychological distress related to body image issues.

However, the psychological benefits of cosmetic surgery are not universally experienced. Critics argue that the pursuit of physical perfection can become an obsession, leading to psychological conditions such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). The American Psychiatric Association notes that individuals with BDD may undergo multiple surgeries yet remain dissatisfied with their appearance, perpetuating a vicious cycle of surgical interventions (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). This indicates that while cosmetic surgery might offer temporary relief, it is not a panacea for deeper psychological issues.

Medical and Health Considerations

From a medical perspective, cosmetic surgery is not without its risks. Complications can arise from any surgical procedure, ranging from minor infections to severe, life-threatening conditions. A comprehensive review published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery highlights that while the majority of cosmetic procedures are safe, complications can occur in 1-5% of cases (Rohrich et al., 2008). These complications can include hematomas, nerve damage, and even pulmonary embolisms, emphasizing the inherent risks involved.

Moreover, the lack of stringent regulations in some countries exacerbates these risks. Medical tourism, where individuals travel abroad to undergo cheaper procedures, often results in substandard care. The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) warns that lower costs may come at the expense of safety and quality, as some facilities may not adhere to rigorous medical standards (ISAPS, 2019). This further underscores the necessity for prospective patients to thoroughly research and consider the qualifications of their chosen practitioners.

Societal Implications

The societal implications of cosmetic surgery extend beyond individual experiences, influencing broader cultural norms and values. Media representations often glorify cosmetic enhancements, portraying them as quick fixes for personal and professional success. This perpetuates a narrow definition of beauty, characterized by unrealistic and often unattainable standards. A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania found that exposure to idealized images significantly increases the desire for cosmetic surgery among young adults, reinforcing the notion that physical appearance is paramount (Martins et al., 2007).

This societal pressure can have deleterious effects, particularly on impressionable demographics such as adolescents. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reports a steady increase in cosmetic procedures among teenagers, raising ethical concerns about the long-term impact on their development and self-perception (ASPS, 2020). Critics argue that instead of promoting acceptance of diverse body types, the normalization of cosmetic surgery fosters a culture of conformity and superficiality.


In conclusion, the debate surrounding cosmetic surgery is complex and multifaceted, encompassing psychological, medical, and societal dimensions. While it can offer significant benefits in terms of enhanced self-esteem and quality of life, these advantages must be weighed against the potential psychological pitfalls, medical risks, and societal consequences. It is crucial for individuals to make informed decisions, taking into account the comprehensive array of factors involved. Ultimately, fostering a culture that values diverse definitions of beauty and promotes mental and physical well-being may be the most effective way to address the underlying issues that drive the demand for cosmetic surgery.

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  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.).
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). (2020). 2019 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report.
  • International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS). (2019). ISAPS International Survey on Aesthetic/Cosmetic Procedures Performed in 2018.
  • Martins, N., Tiggemann, M., & Kirkbride, A. (2007). Beauty standards in media: A review of body image and cosmetic surgery. University of Pennsylvania.
  • Rohrich, R. J., Narasimhan, K., & Brown, S. A. (2008). Primary breast augmentation: A review of complications and adverse outcomes. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 121(2), 1-6.
  • von Soest, T., Kvalem, I. L., Roald, H. E., & Skolleborg, K. C. (2011). The effects of cosmetic surgery on body image, self-esteem, and psychological problems. Clinical Psychological Science, 1(2), 36-51.
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The Complexities and Consequences of Cosmetic Surgery. (2024, Jun 05). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from
“The Complexities and Consequences of Cosmetic Surgery.” GradesFixer, 05 Jun. 2024,
The Complexities and Consequences of Cosmetic Surgery. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 Jun. 2024].
The Complexities and Consequences of Cosmetic Surgery [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 05 [cited 2024 Jun 20]. Available from:
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