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Advantages and Disadvantages of Cosmetic Surgery

Published on: 18 Feb 2019

Mr Debashis Ghosh

NHS Consultant
GMC Number: 4657664

Medically reviewed by a licensed NHS consultant
Last updated: 15/08/2019

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Deciding whether you should follow through with a plastic surgery procedure can be tricky, to say the least. There are many factors you should consider before you make your final decision which will have permanent consequences to your physical appearance.  Flawless is here to help you and give you all the information about undergoing such surgeries, especially as recent articles have suggested that 90% of people are misinformed about cosmetic surgery.

Getting to grips with both the advantages and disadvantages of plastic surgery is the first step you should take if you’re considering cosmetic surgery.

What is Cosmetic Surgery?

It is a common misconception that cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are the exact same procedures, just different terms. There are clear differences that you should be made aware of before you begin to read about the advantages and disadvantages of cosmetic surgery.

The first question is, are you looking for cosmetic OR plastic surgery?

The main purpose of cosmetic surgery is to enhance an individuals’ appearance. The procedures are solely focused on aesthetic appearance. Examples of the most  common cosmetic surgery procedures are:

 (Copyright: Photomaxx/shutterstock.com)


Contrastingly, plastic surgery does not focus on the aesthetic outcome. Plastic surgery repairs birth defects or deals with burns and disease. Examples of plastic surgery procedures are:

This post focuses solely on the benefits and disadvantages of cosmetic surgery; however, the points do often overlap with those for pros and cons of plastic surgery. Continue reading for all you need to know before under-going these types of surgeries.

Benefits of Cosmetic Surgery

Enhanced Appearance

The first and main benefit of cosmetic surgery is that it helps to align your natural appearance with your desired appearance. If you want to undergo cosmetic surgery, it’s reasonable to assume that you are unhappy with some aspect(s) of your appearance, and you desperately want to change it. Once you do it, your appearance will change forever – resulting in an improved version of yourself.

(Copyright: Africa Studio/shutterstock.com)


Improved Physical Health

Another advantage of cosmetic surgery procedure is that in some cases it can enhance your physical health. For example, a rhinoplasty surgery, not only will enhance the look and shape of your nose but may also help with respiratory issues that you may have.

The same goes with liposuction – allowing patients who undergo this surgery to be more physically active after its completion. This, therefore, reduces the chances of developing issues such as an increased blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

Improved Confidence

By fixing and altering your appearance to suit your wishes, you will automatically have an improved self-esteem. This does wonders for your social life and your mental health. Being confident in the way you look makes you feel better in all aspects of life. Gone are the days of insecurities about your physical appearance. This is one of the greatest benefits of cosmetic surgery for many patients who have lived their whole life unhappy with their exterior.

(Copyright: Aysezgicmeli/shutterstock.com)

Psychological Benefits

The previous point briefly touches on the suggestion that cosmetic surgery has psychological benefits. You are more inclined to socialise due to your improved state of mind regarding how you feel towards yourself. Some people who are unsatisfied with their looks frequently struggle with anxiety and depression, which are both mental health problems. However, more often than not, these problems reduce or even disappear completely after cosmetic surgery procedures. This is a huge bonus for many and is what encourages them to proceed with surgery. The positive psychological outcomes are worth it.

Pain is Over Estimated 

Many people who consider cosmetic surgery are hesitant because of the fear of the ‘extreme pain’ that is often associated with cosmetic surgery. While cosmetic surgery is not painless, it is not as painful as it is believed to be. This is true now more than ever because of the recent and ongoing advances in technology. The procedures have been improved to reduce the feelings of pain – bringing a feeling of reassurance to many.

Permanent Results

Another key advantage to cosmetic surgery is that it produces results which often last a long time or are permanent. This relieves any sort of worries of getting your ‘undesired’ looks back. However, you must keep in mind that you have to look after yourself after the procedures in order to make them more long-lasting. For example, if you undergo a tummy tuck surgery – it’s high advised that you stick to a healthy and active lifestyle to maintain your results.

Easily Accessible

With more and more individual opting for cosmetic surgery, there are now many clinics that offer these services. So, this means that it is relatively easy to find somewhere to do your procedure. Also, if you don’t want to do your surgery in the UK, there are many clinics aboard that you can easily access too. This is also known as ‘cosmetic tourism’ and has been on the rise in recent years.

Disadvantages of Cosmetic Surgery


It is not a secret that cosmetic surgeries are expensive. However, this factor makes cosmetic surgery not so ‘easily accessible’ toeveryone, as not everyone obtains such funds. It can be difficult saving up money towardscosmetic surgeries and people often take loans, which can lead to debt. However, thereare alternative financial options that you should definitely consider if you’re interested in a cosmetic surgery procedure.

(Copyright: Pretty Vectors/shutterstock.com)

Chance of Addiction

A grave disadvantage of cosmetic surgery is that some individuals get addicted to it. This has extreme effects on patients’ state of mind as they may increase the severity of or develop Body Dysmorphic Disorder, or BDD, (whereby they continuously find faults and flaws with their appearance.) Individuals who are diagnosed with this believe that they can get rid of BDD through multiple cosmetic surgeries, but this is not the case. Surgery is not the correct treatment for this type of serious disorder.

There are grave consequences for those individuals who become addicted to cosmetic surgery and continue undergoing such procedures. Common dangers include the fact that it can permanently damage the individual’s muscles and skin.

Risk of Death

Although this isn’t common, it can happen during or after surgery. In most cases, this happens due to the reaction to anesthesia or because of your health history (a person with bad health is more likely to have complications during surgery than those who are in good health). It is highly recommended that you take this factor into consideration, and although unlikely, it can occur. Making this a very serious risk of cosmetic surgery.

Doesn’t Always Meet Expectations

Another disadvantage of cosmetic surgery is that after the procedure, it’s not fully guaranteed that you will come out of the other end completely satisfied with the changes. These adjustments made to your face or body may have been desirable before you had them, however, they may not look as you expected and fill you with regret. So, you must always be sure exactly of what you want and do your research before committing to the surgery in order to avoid disappointment!

Mistakes can Happen

Another key risk that should not be overlooked is that cosmetic surgeries can go wrong. This is more common than the risk of death but is still quite uncommon due to advancement in technology. However, mistakes during surgery do still occur. For example, a facelift can cause permanent nerve damage which leads to face paralysis. This is undoubtedly a devastating outcome, which should be taken into consideration before undergoing a surgery. These types of errors in surgery will lower your self-esteem even more than it was, prior to the surgery. In extreme cases, these mistakes are irreversible and cannot be fixed.

Recovery Time

Another unfavourable factor that you should bear in mind is that, after surgery, the recovery period can last quite a long time. This period can last up to 2 or 3 weeks, depending on the type of procedure. This means your life, immediately post-surgery, is drawn to a halt as you need time to recover. Therefore, you aren’t able to go through your daily life like you normally would straight after the operation. This is off-putting for many who have jobs and would need to take a considerable amount of time off to do this. 

Also, pain is apparent during the recovery time which can make some individuals reliant on pain killers, which is clearly a negative outcome, post-surgery.

The Right Surgeon

There is a risk of cosmetic surgery regarding the surgeon. You have quite a lot of pressure to choose the right surgeon for you. They must be experienced and have good reviews. It can sometimes be difficult to find someone you can trust with the procedure, as your life and appearance lies in their hands. This can be an off-putting factor for some.

Depression Post-Surgery

A con of cosmetic surgery is that it sometimes takes time to adjust to the new changes that have been made to your appearance. It may not be the case that you dislike your ‘new’ self, but you are simply not accustomed to it (yet), which can sometimes be unsettling and cause further insecurities than you started off with.

(Copyright: Stock-Asso/shutterstock.com)

The Reaction of Others

If you’re one that cares about other’s opinions, cosmetic surgery may not be for you. Your relatives and friends may have a bad reaction to you getting cosmetic surgery. This is an upsetting reality for some who value the opinions of others but are stuck with their own gut feeling about undergoing surgery to enhance their appearance. However, if you are confident in your decision to have surgery, you shouldn’t let other’s completely influence your decision. Afterall, it’s your body, so it’s ultimately your choice.


These are the mainadvantages and disadvantages of cosmetic surgery that you should be aware of before making a concrete decision. It is also advised that you do your research thoroughly, so thatyou’re familiar of the ins and outs of the procedure you wish to have. Our website aims to help those learn more about cosmetic and plastic surgery – so be sure to explore our other informational posts too.