Countless studies have been run, published and debated about the merits of cosmetic surgery. Many of these tend to focus on subjective issues such as self-esteem and overall contentment. But another study in the past few years covered the issue of depression, and devised an unusual way to measure success: the use of antidepressants.
Researchers were surprised to discover that the incidence of patients taking SSRIs following cosmetic surgery dropped a significant amount—as much as 31 percent in a 362-patient study:
Sixty-one patients (17 percent) were antidepressant users before surgery. Freedman said that his team did not have information on the specific mental health diagnoses of these patients, or whether their depression related to a physical attribute that was to be altered with the surgery.
By 6 months after surgery, the number of antidepressant users had dropped 31 percent to 42 patients. Ninety-eight percent of patients reported a marked improvement in self-esteem following surgery.
Of course results like this should be carefully reviewed: it’s possible that a higher number of these people weren’t clinically depressed to begin with, but simply plagued by body issues. Still, it is a strong indication of what I see every day in my own cosmetic surgery practice: a beautiful face lift or similar procedure, performed by the expert hands of a compassionate physician, can truly change the quality of a patient’s life forever.