The Surgical Procedure and Psychology


Many scholars believe that personality is something permanent. However, some researchers have been focusing on different surgeries that make it easier for people to change their appearances. The argument presented in this paper is that individuals who elect to have plastic surgery develop different personalities. The surgical procedure is also known to have negative consequences or psychological disorders. This argument presented in the paper is supported using the concepts presented by Erik Erikson in his psychohistory theory. The stories of Michael Jackson and Jennifer Aniston are also used to describe how plastic surgery can increase a person’s self-confidence and support his or her dreams.

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Many psychoanalysts and theorists tend to argue that personality is fairly static across human beings’ lives. This means that an individual’s personality will be influenced or shaped by his or her childhood experiences. The attributes, values, and behaviors of a person will not change significantly throughout the lifespan. Unfortunately, modern scholars have used various examples such as plastic surgery to explain why (and how) human beings might develop different personalities. This discussion examines this issue using Erik Erikson’s viewpoints and theoretical assumptions.

Plastic Surgery and Personality

Golshani et al. (2015) define “personality” as a set of feelings, behaviors, emotions, and patterns of thinking exhibited by a given individual. Human beings portray diverse personalities depending on their social backgrounds, experiences, and genetic constitutions. It is agreeable that some people might feel inferior and dissatisfied with certain issues or physical deformities. Such problems have become sources of motivation for individuals who elect to have reconstructive surgeries.

Erik Erikson

Erik Erikson’s psychological arguments and concepts can be used to examine the nature of plastic surgery. Using his concept of psychohistory, Erikson examined how human beings harbor undesirable identities in their lives. He went further to assert that such negative attributes could be irreconcilable. The concept of transference is used by Erikson to explain how a person uses his or her pre-adult past to view every new friend or acquaintance (Margraf, Meyer, & Lavallee, 2015). Consequently, identity problems affect many people in different parts of the world. Such gaps force them to seek alternative measures to transform their deformities and lead lives that appear normal to them. Others do so in an attempt to get rid of any secret curse that might be affecting their identities, successes, or achievements in life. With this kind of understanding, it becomes quite clear that people elect plastic surgery in an attempt to transform their images and “improve” their personalities.

Development of a New Personality

As described above, any form of surgery is capable of changing an individual’s personality. According to Erik Erikson, the decision makes it possible for the person to deal with his or her deformities. A person’s physical appearance can be affected by deformities, aging processes, or diseases. Individuals can choose surgical procedures to improve their looks (Golshani et al., 2015). This move has the potential to improve a person’s confidence. For instance, women can decide to have plastic surgery in an attempt to feel younger and sexier. It is agreeable that a person who gets the surgery will feel good about his or her new appearance.

Anxiety is another concern that encourages people to seek ways of improving their looks. With plastic surgery, it becomes easier for them to feel satisfied with themselves. For example, women have been seeking plastic surgery to change different aspects of their bodies such as breasts. They do so to hide undesirable features. With this kind of transformation, it becomes quite clear that plastic surgery changes an individual’s personality (Margraf et al., 2015). This is the case because the targeted person believes strongly that the procedure has improved his or her appearance. Consequently, the process will result in increased self-esteem and confidence. These are critical aspects that define personality. When a person’s self-confidence is boosted, it becomes easier for him or her to achieve every outlined objective in life.

Positive and Negative Implications

Plastic surgery is something that has been observed or believed to transform an individual’s personality. This kind of change makes it easier for a person to focus on various goals in life. The surgical process results in increased buoyancy and coolness. Individuals who have undergone plastic surgery will feel attractive and contented with their looks. Such feelings maximize one’s self-esteem, thereby encouraging him or her to interact with others positively. Milothridis, Pavlidis, Haidich, and Panagopoulou (2016) clearly indicate that self-esteem is something that tends to permeate in every aspect of a person’s life.

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On the other hand, plastic surgery has negative implications that have the potential to affect a person’s goals. For instance, Erikson indicates that many people always focus on the best approaches in an attempt to have worthwhile lives. Some individuals who feel that they are not pretty might decide to undergo surgery to improve their looks and pursue their goals. However, the move might disorient such individuals after realizing that the procedure did not support their objectives. The process also amounts to deception. A person who embraces this kind of medical procedure to improve his or her looks might develop a psychological disorder (Gilleard & Higgs, 2016). This condition might result in negative ideas and lack of focus in life. Additionally, the negative health outcomes associated with any form of reconstructive surgery cannot be ignored. That being the case, individuals planning to have any form of plastic surgery should be aware of these potential positive and negative consequences.

Case Studies

This discussion has led to a personal theory about plastic surgery and personality. According to this concept, plastic surgery is something that has the potential to change an individual’s personality. Several examples can be presented to support this kind of argument. One of the best examples of individuals who had plastic surgery was Michael Jackson. His decision to have his skin color changed through plastic surgery was influenced by his feelings of inferiority and inadequacy as an African American. Plastic surgery, according to Michael Jackson, was the best option to remove every remnant of his background as an African American (Margraf et al., 2015). Consequently, the choice would improve his feelings and make it easier for him to achieve his goals as a musician. It is agreeable that Michael Jackson became one of the most successful and inspirational musicians.

The second example is that of Jennifer Aniston. The celebrity has received several facelifts and nose jobs within the past twenty years. She has elected to have such plastic surgeries to ensure that she continues to look young and attractive (Gilleard & Higgs, 2016). She has been doing so to support her career objectives and realize her potential.


Erik Erikson’s psychohistory theory indicates clearly that people are in constant struggle with their pasts and physical deformities. The argument explains why many people have elected to have plastic surgery. Consequently, the above two examples also show conclusively that individuals who undergo radical surgeries eventually develop new or different personalities. This fact should, therefore, be considered by persons who are planning to have any form of reconstructive surgery.


Gilleard, C., & Higgs, P. (2016). Connecting life span development with the sociology of the life course: A new direction. Sociology, 50(2), 301-315. Web.

Golshani, S., Mani, A., Toubaei, S., Farnia, V., Sepehry, A. A., & Alikhani, M. (2015). Personality and psychological aspects of cosmetic surgery. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 40(1), 38-47. Web.

Margraf, J., Meyer, A. H., & Lavallee, K. L. (2015). Psychological health and aims of aesthetic surgery seekers. Clinical Psychological Science, 3(6), 877-891. Web.

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Milothridis, P., Pavlidis, L., Haidich, A., & Panagopoulou, E. (2016). A systematic review of the factors predicting the interest in cosmetic plastic surgery. Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery, 49(3), 397-402. Web.

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