Depressed? Try Plastic Surgery

Ohlsen, Ponten, and Hamburt (1978) noted that twenty-five of seventy-one women in their study were receiving psychiatric treatment prior to a breast augmentation procedure, whereas only three continued to do so after the operation.1 Klassen and his colleagues (1996) also found substantial reductions in psychiatric symptomatology among people receiving plastic surgery.2 Cole and his colleagues (1994) reported that 73 percent of their patients reported a higher quality of life after cosmetic surgery, compared to only 6 percent who reported a lower quality of life.3 The largest gains were for cosmetic breast surgery (both reductions and enlargements), with slightly smaller gains for abdominoplasty (tummy tucks) and only slight gains for rhinoplasty (nose jobs).

Well-Being: Foundations of Hedonic Psychology

Looking for something less invasive? Try Botox.

Ten depressed patients were treated with botulinum toxin A, and 9 of 10 patients were no longer depressed 2 months after treatment. The tenth patient had an improvement in mood.4


  1. Ohlsen, Lennart, Bengt Ponten, and Gunnar Hambert. “Augmentation mammaplasty: A surgical and psychiatric evaluation of the results.” Annals of plastic surgery 2.1 (1979): 42-52.

  1. Klassen, A., et al. “Patients’ health related quality of life before and after aesthetic surgery.” British journal of plastic surgery 49.7 (1996): 433-438.

  1. Cole, Richard P., et al. “Measuring outcome in low-priority plastic surgery patients using quality of life indices.” British journal of plastic surgery 47.2 (1994): 117-121.

  1. Finzi, Eric, and Erika Wasserman. “Treatment of depression with botulinum toxin A: a case series.” Dermatologic Surgery 32.5 (2006): 645-650.

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