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March 1975

A Psychological Study of Patients Undergoing Cosmetic Surgery

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1975;101(3):145-151. doi:10.1001/archotol.1975.00780320003001

This is an investigative study of the personality of patients requesting cosmetic rhinoplasty. Analysis of data obtained from objective projective tests and psychological interviews indicated that patients seeking cosmetic surgery are not as psychologically disturbed as often described.

Comparative studies showed certain personality characteristics to be associated with patients who seek cosmetic surgery. While evaluations 18 months after surgery showed no major personality change, self-concept was improved. Certain disturbing personality patterns indicative of psychological risk were identified. These fell more in the range of personality disorders, exemplified by the infantile-narcissistic and the manipulative controlling personalities rather than in the psychotic, psychoneurotic, or psychosomatic ranges. We recommend a simple interview question method of counseling designed to identify underlying psychological manifestations and to control the potential problem patient.