Botox, cosmetic plastic surgery and body language


I have written in the past about plastic surgery and how muscle action affects our mood. Early experiments of this type involved measuring brain endorphins (happy-feeling brain hormones) after patients were asked to hold a pencil in their mouths to simulate grinning. We know that then we are happy, our mouths turn into a grin. The experiment showed that when we force a grin by using the same muscles, we become happy!


Botox (botulinum toxin) useful against depression and headaches

Last year, a study showed that Botox and Xeomin, medications that blocks muscle action, have beneficial effects in patients who suffer from migraines. Patients with migraine headaches suffer a tightening of the muscles of the scalp as one of the sequels to migraine attacks. Injecting Botox or any other Botulinum toxin effectively knocks out the muscles, relaxing them and improving migraine symptoms.


tummy tucks for men photo

Body positioning affects body hormones




Recent research has shown that body position affects our hormonal levels within two minutes! Specifically, taking on a dominant or “powerful” stance for two minutes,  such as placing your hands on your hips with your legs apart or holding your arms up in a “victory” stance, such as that of Rocky Balboa above, will decrease your cortisol (stress) hormone levels and increase your testosterone levels, which are associated with feeling in control, being more outgoing and being more self-confident. In contrast, sitting quietly in a chair with hunched over shoulders and crossed arms and legs will increase your stress levels and decrease your testosterone levels.  Here is a link to a TED talk by the researcher who discovered this fact:


Plastic surgery affects mood?

The study that begs to be performed next concerns whether patients who have had plastic surgery also benefit from an increase in self-confidence and empowerment and whether they have decreased stress hormone levels and an increase in testosterone.

Any cosmetic plastic surgeon will tell you that they have seen a change in their patients’ body posture after surgery, be it a breast augmentation or a facelift. Plastic surgery patients hold themselves straighter, walk more confidently and even dress in a more extravagant way after cosmetic surgery. They typically also smile more.

In fact, one of the main reasons patients go to a plastic surgeon seeking cosmetic surgery is to “feel” better about themselves, and they will often voice that.  If you think about it, all of us have the same feelings on a daily basis when we look at ourselves in the mirror. On good days, when you wake up looking better, you will tend to enhance that by dressing up and thereby reinforcing your “on top of the world” look—which makes you feel even better! On a bad hair day or when you get up on the “wrong side of the bed,” you will look less attractive and may even dress down, thereby reinforcing the image of the “depressed and less attractive” you.

Why does all this matter, anyway?

Simply put, more attractive people have been shown in multiple studies to make more money. That’s one reason. See how I said attractive people and not beautiful people. There is a difference, as few of us are beautiful but many are attractive. The French even have a saying for “attractive ugly women”: une jolie laide!

Tall people tend to dominate us shorter folk, and it seems we pay them more for it. Thin people feel more confident than chubbier ones, and we also pay them more. This means that physical shape will affect financial earning potential. Some of our physical shape is determined by our genes, and there is little we can about that other than having plastic surgery to enlarge breasts, reduce nose size or remove excess skin and fat. The other part of our physical appearance is determined by aspects of posture, which you can control much more easily by keeping  your head held up high and standing tall! Plastic Surgery on the Body Affects the Mind!

Morad Tavallali, M.D., FACS