Françoise Millet-Bartoli

Made-to-Order Beauty Publication date : May 15, 2008

What do patients really want when they decide to have plastic surgery? Many wish to change a specific physical trait that causes embarrassment or elicits ridicule — a nose that is considered too long, an overly square chin, ears that stick out. In such cases surgery can improve lives, by simultaneously enhancing patients' external appearance and their physical self-esteem. Surgery can make them feel better.

But what happens when the insistence on surgical transformation hides a deeper form of dissatisfaction, a feeling of hurt, of personal vulnerability? Should the plastic surgeon agree to perform the procedure? And how can the surgeon be sure before it takes place?

The author examines the numerous aspects — besides the surgeon's technical skill — that should be weighed when deciding to surgically transform physical appearance: the patient's bodily image, self-image and even identity.

This book explains the explicit as well as implicit motives behind decisions to undergo plastic surgery. It provides the guidelines needed to evaluate the psychological repercussions of surgery and the possible risks. Finally, it will help anyone considering plastic surgery to ask the right questions before making a final decision.

Françoise Millet-Bartoli, a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, teaches at the medical faculty of Toulouse. She is the author of La Crise au milieu de la vie.