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Does having cosmetic surgery actually increase your risk of mental health problems?

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    Cosmetic surgery and cosmetic procedures have increased in popularity in recent years, especially among certain demographics. What does this mean for people’s mental health?

    By Ben Lees

Those opting for cosmetic procedures often do so to increase their self-confidence or body image. Yet it is now thought that, in reality, rather than boosting self-esteem and improving mental health, undergoing cosmetic surgery is more likely to increase levels of depression and anxiety.

A Norwegian research team, led by Tilmann von Soest and his colleagues at Norwegian Social Research, found that women who decided to undergo cosmetic surgery were on average more depressed and anxious than those who did not. They were also found to be more prone to suicide.

Interestingly, these statistics were true both before and after the surgery, suggesting that the surgery itself does not alleviate existing mental health problems or self-image issues. In fact, some of the symptoms of poor mental health were found to be worse after the surgery.

Although these findings may seem controversial, there is some support for the idea. In a Finnish study from 2003, it was found that there was an increased chance of suicide among women with breast implants.

The effect of unsuccessful cosmetic surgery on mental health

Whilst it is difficult to say whether mental health problems following cosmetic surgery are a side effect of the surgery itself or a hangover from pre-operative issues, there can be very severe effects to a patient’s mental health where the cosmetic procedure itself is unsuccessful.

It was recently reported that Tracey, a 29-year-old woman from Glasgow had suffered a series of serious complications after having breast surgery intended to boost her self-confidence. The operation, carried out by Dana Vasilescu, left Tracey distraught and requiring various corrective procedures.

Whereas Tracey had originally wanted a lift with small implants, she was persuaded by her surgeon to go for bigger ones. As soon as her dressings were removed though, Tracey was disappointed with what she saw.

Tracey was left with large scars, and her nipples were permanently damaged. The implants that were inserted by Dr Vasilescu were found to be far too big and required removal.

The aftermath of this disastrous operation led to the collapse of Tracey’s relationship, and she ended up on anti-depressants. To make things worse, Tracey has been unable to take legal action against Dr Vasilescu, who has now returned to her native city of Bucharest.

The psychological (as well as physical) effects of unsuccessful surgeries can be life-changing, but they are, unfortunately, not always discussed.

What you can do if you suffer negligent treatment

If you have suffered psychological injuries from a negligent cosmetic procedure, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

Our specialist team of solicitors can guide you through the process of making a claim, and will support you every step of the way should you decide to proceed.

If you think you may have a claim in clinical negligence from a cosmetic surgery procedure, or you would like to simply talk to an expert and see where you stand, please do not hesitate to get in contact with one of our team.

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