Cosmetic plastic surgery is more popular than ever, yet many of us still hold beliefs that vanity is a significant factor driving people to undergo beauty-enhancing procedures. Could there be a deeper reason? We spoke with Dr. Michael Vennemeyer of Vennemeyer Plastic Surgery in Southlake and author of “Plastic Surgery Myths Dispelled: A Consumer’s Guide.” Putting his subjective opinions aside, Dr. Vennemeyer explained what current scientific studies say about plastic surgery and happiness.
Q: Is it true that Botox improves depression?
A: A very recent study found that Botox injections between the eyebrows, used to treat those annoying “11” lines, can improve depression symptoms.
Q: How is this possible?
A: It appears that our powerful mind-body connection is responsi- ble for this benefit. As humans, we express emotions on our face. When we frown or express sad emotions, the involved muscles send signals back to our brains that we are making these expressions. These signals reinforce the negative emotions and perpetuate feeling down in the dumps. Relaxing the muscles with Botox reduces or stops this feedback loop, breaking the cycle.
Many patients seek Botox treatments because they are concerned that frown lines make them look angry or unpleasant to other people. This new evidence shows how powerful these expressions really are—they dramatically affect how we feel, not just how others perceive us.
Q: What else can I do to improve how I feel using my mind-body connection?
A: One free, non-invasive way we can harness this power is by smiling as much as possible. Even when you are feeling down, the physical expression of smiling sends positive signals to our brains, releasing “feel good” chemicals that boost our mood.
Q: Do other cosmetic procedures have the same mood-boosting effects as Botox?
A: It is unknown whether the changes from plastic surgery procedures cause the body to send mood-elevating direct feedback to the brain. It is clear, however, that plastic surgery can have positive psychological effects, regardless of how it happens.
Existing studies show improvement in confidence, self-esteem, self-perceived attractiveness, and quality of life measures. Participants in one study reported improvements in their social lives, relationships, sex lives and less depression. In effect, plastic surgery does seem to have the potential to boost happiness.
Q: But is there a limit?
A.: We have all experienced that looking our best makes us feel better. There is growing evidence to explain why plastic surgery can help. It’s really not about vanity for 99 percent of the patients that walk into my office. There is a limit, however, and the key to getting the benefits starts with doing it for the right reasons.
VENNEMEYER PLASTIC SURGERY
500 N. Carroll Ave, Suite 110
Southlake, TX 76092