In 2005, 2.1 million American women had experienced breast enlargement surgery, a staggering 476 % more since 2000 and the trend is increasing. That figures are expected to grow.
In 2007, more than 360,000 American women will do it.
A new research at the University of Florida has found that breast enlargement often induces an important rise in self-esteem and sexuality, including libido, in women. "Although plastic surgery should not be seen as a panacea for feelings of low self-worth or sexual attractiveness, it is important for health-care practitioners to understand the psychological benefits of these procedures," said lead researcher Cynthia Figueroa-Haas, a clinical assistant professor at University of Florida's College of Nursing.
"Many individuals, including health-care providers, have preconceived negative ideas about those who elect to have plastic surgery, without fully understanding the benefits that may occur from these procedures. This study provides the impetus for future studies related to self-esteem, human sexuality and cosmetic surgery."
Figueroa-Haas investigated 84 women aged 21 to 57, recording their perceptions of self-esteem and sexuality before and two to three months after cosmetic breast augmentation.
She found improvements in the women's self-esteem and sexual satisfaction linked to the breast augmentation by employing two scientific scales, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and the Female Sexual Function Index (describing sexual arousal, satisfaction, experience and attitudes).
The average increases were from 20.7 to 24.9 for self-esteem on the 30-point Rosenberg scale, and from 27.2 to 31.4 on the 36-point index for the sex function.
There were substantial rises of sexual desire (plus 78.6 %), arousal (plus 81 %) and satisfaction (plus 57 %). "Those women who may have breast changes due to nursing or from the inevitable natural aging process may not feel as attractive, which could ultimately negatively impact their levels of self-esteem and sexuality. In fact, ethical plastic surgeons should screen for this type of behavior and rule out potential patients who may have more serious psychological issues. There may be patients who will never be satisfied with their bodies no matter how much surgery they receive or feel that their life will completely change after plastic surgery," Figueroa-Haas said.
"For women who seek improvements in certain physical areas, plastic surgery can be a very positive experience. Since plastic surgery is increasing dramatically, my intention for researching this topic was to evaluate nurses' attitudes toward cosmetic surgery patients and make recommendations for increasing awareness of the factors surrounding these patients. Nurses should display compassion and understand an individual's reason for seeking cosmetic surgery instead of dismissing or stereotyping these patients", she added.