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Is bigger better? Breast surgery linked to boost in self-esteem and sexuality

GAINESVILLE, Fla. Women who undergo breast enlargement often see a sizable boost in self-esteem and positive feelings about their sexuality, a University of Florida nurse researcher reports.

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, says Cynthia Figueroa-Haas, a clinical assistant professor at UFs College of Nursing who conducted the study. The findings which revealed that for many women, going bigger is better appear in the current issue of Plastic Surgical 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, said Figueroa-Haas, who conducted the study for her doctoral thesis at Barry University in Miami Shores before joining the UF faculty. This study provides the impetus for future studies related to self-esteem, human sexuality and cosmetic surgery.

In 2005, 2.1 million cosmetic surgical procedures were performed, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. That figure is expected to grow. Consider that the number of breast augmentation procedures alone increased a staggering 476 percent since 2000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. More than 2 million women in the United States have breast implants, and this year more than 360,000 American women will undergo breast augmentation.

Figueroa-Haas studied 84 women who were 21 to 57 years old, assessing their perceptions of self-esteem and sexuality before and after cosmetic breast augmentation. Study participants had been previously scheduled for breast augmentation and were undergoing the procedure solely for cosmetic purposes. Eligible candidates were mailed a consent form, a demographic
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Contact: Tracy Brown
tracyb@nursing.ufl.edu
352-273-6421
University of Florida
21-Mar-2007


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