Huge numbers willing to go under knife to alter their appearance, study finds

Oct 29, 2007

Most women, and large numbers of men, are interested in having cosmetic surgery, UCLA scientists report in the October issue of the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Forty-eight percent of women surveyed said they would be interested in cosmetic surgery, liposuction or both, and another 23 percent said they would possibly be interested.

Among men, 23 percent said they would be interested in surgery, with 17 percent expressing possible interest.

"Interest in cosmetic surgery is far more widespread than we had anticipated," said David Frederick, a UCLA psychology graduate student and lead author of the study. "The majority of women expressed some interest in cosmetic surgery, and more than one-third of men expressed some degree of interest, which I found really surprising. We know there is tremendous pressure for women to be thin and have a certain appearance and for men to be fit and muscular, but I would not have guessed that so many people would be interested in surgical body alteration."

In addition, 21 percent of women and 11 percent of men described themselves as unattractive, and 31 percent of women and 16 percent of men reported feeling so uncomfortable in a swimsuit that they avoid wearing one in public, Frederick and his colleagues reported.

"There is so much pressure, especially on women, to be thin and beautiful and to look younger," Frederick said. "Many people are willing to pay thousands of dollars to permanently alter their bodies surgically. The interest in cosmetic surgery is widespread across the full life span. Especially for women, there never seems to be a reprieve. Your appearance is judged to be an important part of who you are."

Frederick was surprised to find no relation between people's body image and their interest in cosmetic surgery — even those without a poor body image expressed interest in surgical alteration.

"This isn't about poor body image," Frederick said. "People interested in cosmetic surgery did not report less satisfaction with their body or face than people who are not interested. People interested in liposuction, however, did report lower body satisfaction, even when statistically controlling for body weight."

According to the American Association of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 11 million cosmetic surgery procedures were performed in 2006 — a 48 percent increase from 2000. Roughly 90 percent of cosmetic surgeries in 2004 were performed on women.

For the study, UCLA researchers analyzed the responses of more than 52,000 people — ranging in age from 18 to 65, with an average age in the mid-30s — to an online survey conducted by MSNBC.com and Elle.com in 2003.

Co-authors on the study were Janet Lever, professor of sociology at California State University, Los Angeles; and Letitia Anne Peplau, UCLA professor of psychology.

Source: UCLA

Explore further: Continued reliance on Windows XP in physician practices may threaten data security

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Women face ID problem after cosmetic surgery trip

Aug 12, 2009

A group of Chinese women who travelled to South Korea for cosmetic surgery baffled immigration officers on their return home when their new looks did not match their passport photos.

FDA: Breast implant problems grow with time

Jun 22, 2011

Don't expect breast implants to last for life, the government warned Wednesday: About 1 in 5 women who receive them for cosmetic reasons will have them removed within 10 years, and those odds are even higher ...

Recommended for you

What are the chances that your dad isn't your dad?

14 hours ago

How confident are you that the man you call dad is really your biological father? If you believe some of the most commonly-quoted figures, you could be forgiven for not being very confident at all. But how ...

New technology that is revealing the science of chewing

Apr 15, 2014

CSIRO's 3D mastication modelling, demonstrated for the first time in Melbourne today, is starting to provide researchers with new understanding of how to reduce salt, sugar and fat in food products, as well ...

After skin cancer, removable model replaces real ear

Apr 11, 2014

(HealthDay)—During his 10-year struggle with basal cell carcinoma, Henry Fiorentini emerged minus his right ear, and minus the hearing that goes with it. The good news: Today, the 56-year-old IT programmer ...

Italy scraps ban on donor-assisted reproduction

Apr 09, 2014

Italy's Constitutional Court on Wednesday struck down a Catholic Church-backed ban against assisted reproduction with sperm or egg donors that has forced thousands of sterile couples to seek help abroad.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.

How kids' brain structures grow as memory develops

Our ability to store memories improves during childhood, associated with structural changes in the hippocampus and its connections with prefrontal and parietal cortices. New research from UC Davis is exploring ...

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.