Body Image Not Improved By Cosmetic Surgery

A study of women’s impressions after undergoing cosmetic surgery found that women do not experience a change in overall body image following their procedures. Women did report that they were pleased and satisfied with the appearance of the specific feature that had been surgically altered. Generally, however, women did not feel better about their overall appearance. Dr. David B. Sarwer of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, the lead author of the study published in the January issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, commented, “Cosmetic surgery is not a panacea.”

Currently, 80 percent of American woman are dissatisfied with their appearance, according to Eating Disorders Awareness Prevention. As girls move from childhood to adolescence, they experience a loss of self-esteem at twice the rate of boys. Studies have shown that the narrow standard of beauty depicted in the media can lead to poor body image, low self-esteem, and depression in women. The plastic surgery industry, whose clientele is 90 percent women, is a $10 billion industry, profiting from women’s poor body image, but apparently doing little to improve it.


Reuters Health, 2/8/02; Eating Disorders Awareness Program, American Association of University Women, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 21st Century Markets, Feminist Majority Foundation

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