From the desk of Dr. Richard Gregory…
You look happy! What’s the deal?
The patient just told me of her conversation with her husband who observed “You look happy this morning. What’s the deal?” She shared with him that she was on her way to our office for some injectables and minor procedure. I find it interesting, and indeed inspiring, that we can contribute to a patient’s psychological well-being– which of course translates to physical well-being also.
Of course, it has been known for a long time through studies (starting in 1960 with Maxwell Maltz,Psycho—Cybernetics and many other more recent studies) that our appearance affects the way we feel about ourselves as well as how we perform in our job, our social life, et cetera. Many things can be done which not only improve a person’s appearance, but also her outlook on life. Conversely the book, After Plastic Surgery, by McGregor summarizes a longitudinal (over 30 years) study of facially disfigured patients. As you might suspect, the suicide rate, divorce rate, and depression was much more common in this group of patients. Virtually every one of them felt as though they would have had a different life had it not been for the facial disfigurement.
Although termed “cosmetic surgery” it is evident that these procedures are more life-changing and less “vanity” than most people realize. One study documented that those who “look good” make 10% more in their vocation than others. “Looking good” may entail something as minor as Botox or laser for many patients. Others need more but for whatever reason cannot have surgery. In any case, I believe that any improvement (however small) will boost our self-esteem. We all have a need to “look good.” It is only our definition of what that means which varies from person to person. What defines “looking good” for you, and how can you make that happen? Do you have an appearance need?
It is not our purpose to create need in our patients, but in fact, our goal is to meet that need. In fact, the mission statement at the Institute of Aesthetic Surgery states: “It is our goal to help every person fulfill her (his) God-given potential.” It was probably best stated by the Italian plastic surgeon, Gaspare Tagliacozzi, in 1597, “We fashion, replace, restore those features which nature has given, but chance has taken away, not so much to please the eye but to restore the person to their rightful place in society.” Or, as Bobby McFarrin put it “don’t worry, be happy”.
Richard O. Gregory, MD