Psychological Investigations in Cosmetic Surgery: A Look Back and a Look Ahead

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Abstract

This article reviews the history of psychological investigations of cosmetic surgery patients. These studies have been designed to address two fundamental questions: (1) Are there “patient types” or forms of psychopathology that serve as contraindications to cosmetic surgery? and (2) What is the likelihood of psychological change following cosmetic surgery? This review suggests that the research has not fully answered these questions. In response, we propose a new direction for psychological investigation, focusing on issues of body image in cosmetic surgery patients. We discuss the relationship between body image and cosmetic surgery and pose several relevant questions for future research.

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