not-so-vain-cosmetic-surgerys-healthy-sideIn my years performing plastic surgery in the Temecula and Murrieta area, I’ve seen firsthand many times the emotional boost patients get from cosmetic enhancement. Choosing to have a procedure to improve something a person doesn’t like about himself or herself tends to lead to an enhanced self-image, as well.

Many studies over the years have tracked the way cosmetic surgery can improve our emotional health. Now, though, new research shows it can boost our physical health, too.

A recent study has shown that after a person has bariatric surgery and loses a lot of weight, getting cosmetic procedures to remove excess skin and improve body contour actually helps them keep the weight off. The study, published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, is one of the first to track how cosmetic surgery — considered by some to be simply an expression of vanity — can tangibly affect patients’ health.

For 7 years, Swiss researchers tracked 200 patients who had bariatric surgery, about half of whom then underwent body contouring cosmetic procedures such as tummy tuck surgery. Those who had cosmetic procedures gained much less weight back than those who didn’t, leading the researchers to conclude that body contouring is such a critical component of weight loss that it should be considered reconstructive surgery and therefore covered by insurance.

I’ve heard stories from many of my patients who have said that getting cosmetic surgery was the first step in a mental and physical transformation for them. Improving that one aspect of themselves would jump-start a whole set of lifestyle changes that would often include eating better, getting more exercise, and remembering to treat themselves well.

Until now, evidence of the physical health benefits of cosmetic enhancement was purely anecdotal. This research gives us proof that elective procedures aren’t just about vanity — they’re about self-improvement in all its forms.