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Breast Augmentation and Self Esteem

A Plastic Surgical Nursing study carried out by a University of Florida College of Nursing researcher has established the link between breast augmentation and increased self-esteem/boosted sexual confidence. Cynthia Figueroa-Haas, the clinical assistant professor who performed the examination, published her findings in an attempt not to suggest that the procedure should be used to overcome these feelings, but to demonstrate the psychological benefits of breast augmentation to physicians who may otherwise have a pre-conceived negative opinion regarding the surgery.

Figueroa-Haas’ study was conducted via a sample group of 84 women between 21 and 57 years old who had already scheduled breast augmentation for cosmetic reasons. The research used comprehensive surveys to measure how the members of this group saw their level of self-esteem and sexuality. Similar surveys were sent to these participants several months after their breast enlargement procedure in order to gauge their sexual/personal confidence again. The results of these two sets of reports demonstrated a direct connection between boosts in “self-esteem and sexual satisfaction” and the benefits of the breast enhancement treatment.

The link between the procedure and personal confidence was measured through the Female Sexual Function Index and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, two accepted scientific scales of sexuality and self-esteem. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale uses a 30-point system and saw the sample group report an average increase in confidence from 20.7 to 24.9. The 36-point scale of the Female Sexual Function Index saw a similar increase, the participants moving from 27.2 to 31.4. Subsections of the Sexual Function Index also demonstrated increases in areas like sexual desire (78.6% higher), satisfaction (57% higher) and arousal (81% higher).

This connection is important to note because it sheds light on aspects of female sexuality that have been traditionally ignored in the medical and psychological fields. Figueroa-Haas stated that “very little is discussed regarding women’s sexuality issues” and that her work functioned as a way to look at how something like “cosmetic plastic surgery can address these sorts of issues.”

While Figueroa-Haas was careful to note that aesthetic medicine isn’t the answer to every problem, she did explain how valuable treatments like breast enhancement can be in certain cases. One such group of “ideal” patients is made up of women who suffer from low self-esteem and a negative view of their own sexuality due to natural body changes caused by events like aging or nursing. She explained that “women who seek improvements in certain physical areas” may find surgical enhancement to “be a very positive experience.”

The study ended with Cynthia Figueroa-Haas describing how more research is required that explores the psychological impact of plastic surgery. Her work discusses the need for health care professionals to better understand the needs of patients who may benefit from cosmetic surgery, especially in light of the ever-increasing demand for aesthetic treatments in recent years .

She states that her “[research] provides the impetus for future studies related to self-esteem, human sexuality and cosmetic surgery” and explains the value of making issues related to psychological improvements connected with plastic surgery “understood and respected.”


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