The Mind, Mood and Plastic Surgery

Do aesthetic procedures affect or impact mood? Good research shows that Botox injected into the forehead muscles can inhibit frowning, which mitigates the symptoms of anger and depression. Do facelifts promote smiling? Which comes first- the expression or the emotion?

Facial Feedback Hypothesis

According to the hypothesis called facial-feedback, emotion follows expression. A large body of evidence supports this theory. With advanced neuroimaging, we are beginning to understand how facial muscle movements are linked to neural pathways in the amygdala, which activate mood and nervous system manifestations. This hypothesis provides a framework for evaluating and treating mood disorders.

Improve Self-Esteem and Mood

A 2005 study reported that plastic surgery not only improves self-esteem but also enhances mood. It was also reported that 31% of patients in the study who were taking antidepressants, stopped taking them after their cosmetic procedure.

Since 2006 this issue has become an important area of study. Double-blind, placebo controlled studies have shown that when Botox is injected into the forehead, this significantly improves the symptoms of major depression, and offers results that are as good as those provided by antidepressants! Using the facial-feedback hypothesis, if a frown is inhibited, our ability to be sad is also reduced.

It is well established that aesthetic interventions result in patients projecting a better first impression and experiencing a better mood and self-esteem.

What about makeup, skin and hair care? Can these positively alter the impression a person projects, as well as improving their mood and self-esteem?

We know that cancer patients and the elderly improve their mood when provided with makeup, skin and hair care. The indirect impact of aesthetic treatments could be significant not only to the person treated but also to those around them. Happiness is contagious.

Aesthetic surgery may evolve from a vanity purchase, to treatments for mind and mood disorders.

Patients who seek plastic surgery for something that bothers them are proactively improving their quality of life, making themselves look better, and feel better about themselves. A 2013 study found that plastic surgery patients generally experience more joy, less anxiety, a higher sense of satisfaction and greater self-esteem.

Call Dr. Waltzman in Long Beach, CA to discuss aesthetic procedures they may benefit the way you feel about yourself.


  • Dayan, SH. Aesthetic Surgery Journal
2015, Vol. 35(6) 7
  • Margraf J., Meyer AH, Lavallee KL. Clinical Psychological Science, July 2013;vol. 1, 3: pp. 239-252., first published on March 4, 2013 59–761
  • Freedman, B: American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery 2006 conference in San Francisco.