What is the Difference Between People that Get Plastic Surgery and Those Who Do Not? Answer: Not Much

Mary Lee Peters, MD

Article by
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

“Research finds that cosmetic surgery patients do not differ from nonpatients in body satisfaction, except that they are more likely to express dissatisfaction with the specific body region targeted for surgery.”

MSNBC conducted an online study of 50,000 volunteers to research how satisfaction with body image correlated with interest in plastic surgery. A 27 point questionnaire posed questions like:

*How comfortable are you in a bathing suit?

*Do you like your face?

*How many times a day do you check yourself in the mirror?

*Are you self conscious about your weight?

The respondents were heterosexual men and women between 18-65 years of age There were equally divided between men and women. The large sample size allowed for statistical significance. 71% of women and 40% of men expressed interest in cosmetic surgery. Here are some of the interesting findings of this large scale survey.

  1. Body image satisfaction was gauged by self rated attractiveness and comfort in a swimsuit. There was no difference between those women interested in plastic surgery and those not interested.
  2. Men interested in plastic surgery were not any different in body image satisfaction than those with no interest.
  3. Appearance investment was gauged by self reported mirror checking. Both men and women that monitored their appearance in the mirror frequently showed more interest in plastic surgery.
  4. Relationship status did not correlate to interest in plastic surgery. Those who were married, co-habitating, or dating seriously were no more interested in cosmetic surgery than singles.
  5. The study subjects were divided into five age groups. The percentage of men and women interested in plastic surgery was relatively constant across the entire spectrum.

The study suggests that plastic surgery has become a widely accepted form of enhancing physical attractiveness, and that those interested in this type of body change have much in common with those with no interest.