These 'lost' side effects are the reason plastic surgery is still popular, despite the criticisms and satire.
For one, no one goes into the surgery expecting the impossible, which is often shown. Uglies and its sequel Prettiesblow this aspect way out of proportion. A very small percentage (as low as 12%, a study found) even indicated that they wanted these 'impossible' results, namely being an entirely new person and having all their problems solved. Plastic surgery does, however, help to relieve some anxiety felt before the surgery about how the patient looks. On average, the same study found, there was less anxiety in the lives of the patients and pre-surgery goals had been achieved. Those who had gone into surgery also reported feeling healthier and more confident about whatever part of their body they had had the surgery on and their body as a whole.
Although plastic surgery often leaves the patient looking younger (this before and after gallery shows that well), that is not all the surgery helps. Reconstructive surgery for cancer patients can often help them retain some control over their lives, as most patients report feeling more confident about how they look. In fact, if the patient is educated about the procedure, a survey found, the overall experience in and out of the surgery room is positive.
Moreover, one particular side effect is that those who have the above mentioned confidence boost are more likely to try new things and be more outgoing. In today's world that judges on looks above everything else, a person who feels more confident in their own skin can take more risks than someone who is insecure. This goes particularly for those who are self-conscious about one specific body part (the nose, the eyebrows, etc.).
Those who had thought about having plastic surgery but never did, the above mentioned study found, were less likely to feel these positive effects. When compared to those who had undergone surgery with a trained and careful surgeon (minimizing the risk that is so commonly attributed to plastic surgery), those who had contemplated plastic surgery but never had it were less likely to report that they felt positive about themselves. These are only a few of the differences between psychological make ups of those who underwent surgery and those who didn't.
All in all, no matter how plastic surgery is portrayed, there will always be a hype over it. Those who have realistic expectations come out of the experience with greater self-confidence. Others come out with disappointment. However, with television shows, movies, and books showing only the extreme side of the plastic surgery culture, will the more realistic side ever be seen outside the operating room? Or is it doomed to be left to the testimonials and the operating room, forever seen through a skeptic eye?