naturally-attractive Laura Pillarella was enormously disappointed with her
plastic surgery baptism of fire. The quite insecure young woman had hoped the
procedures to eliminate the bags under her eyes and insert a chin implant would
improve not only her looks, but also her way of living. She was wrong.
bandages came off, I was disappointed,? she narrates. ?I wasn?t beautiful ?
just different. It wasn?t enough.?
To cut the
story short, Laura planned and went through a series of surgeries. For the next
ten years she became trapped in a vicious cycle of cosmetic surgery,
discontent, and more corrective surgeries.
after going through her 15th procedure, a plastic surgeon revealed
to her the problem with her looks was that she went through excessive amounts
of surgery. A quite revealing news too much for Laura to carry.
years she has spent more than £40,000 trying to be beautiful. And in a wink of
an eye, she seriously thought about ending her life.
?I had my suicide all worked
out. I was going to rent a room in a hotel, get some sleeping tablets and wash
them down with red wine,? recounts the American personal trainer and author.
?I wasn?t going
to leave a suicide note. People would know why I?d killed myself. One look at
my face said it all ? I?d made myself look hideously ugly. My face was
lopsided, my nose was too skinny, my lips were distorted and my chin was
Laura?s case is
ordinary of the many cosmetic surgery patients who are left deeply depressed
by their appearance afterwards.
New research reveals that
behind the ?easy glamour? of nip?n?tuck exists a creeping epidemic of frustration,
leading to a wave of suicides.
Experts in the
journal, Current Psychiatry Reports, say Women who go through cosmetic surgery
procedures are more prone to taking their own lives.
were established on five large-scale, independent studies, which discovered
that the suicide rate is up to three times higher in women who have had breast
The losses is
not only limited to suicides ? cosmetic surgery patients had a three-times
higher rate of death on account of self-destructive acts, such as
binge-drinking, drug ?overdoses, and reckless driving.
researchers from the International Epidemiology Institute in the U.S., psychological
damage connected to cosmetic surgery is ?a critically neglected area.?
At the same
time, another study discovered that in eight out of ten plastic surgery
practices, former patients had experienced post-traumatic stress.
witnessing at least as many psychological repercussions as physical
the report, published in the journal, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery,
depression, disappointment, and anxiety were the most commonly seen
frontier for the specialty is to improve patients? emotional and psychological
revealed that men are thought more probably to be perturbed at the result of
their cosmetic surgery, even if the outcome was ?technically good.? It?s a problem
not just limited to women.
Annals of Plastic Surgery in 2010, Melbourne University researchers
supported increased psychological screening before surgery and support for
was unfortunately never provided to 62-year-old Collin Phillips. In 2009, an inquest in Cadiff found out how he
committed suicide by hanging himself in a wood, distressed at the result of his
his looks he had undergone more than one plastic surgery on his face; Phillips
was a retired managing director.
a third procedure by a Harley Street
surgeon, he felt his appearance had been butchered, which made him refuse to
leave his £600,000 home.
According to his
wife 62-year-old wife Janice, ?After the first facelift he felt tremendous.?
husband?s original surgeon declined to operate on him a third time, so he went
online to search for a Harley
Street doctor who would.
mother-of-two said: ?He was pinning his hopes on having a maxi-facelift. But
after the operation he would look in the mirror shaking.?
After a month,
Mr Phillips, a grandfather, took an overdose of drugs and was admitted to a hospital.
He survived and was discharged from the hospital, but made two more failed
suicide attempts after that.
successful with his plans to take his life eight months after the operation. Mr.
Phillips finally killed himself through hanging.
Experts warn, as the demand
for cosmetic surgery increases, such post-operative distress can only escalate.
A study made
for the Girl Guides currently discovered almost half of secondary school girls
said they plan to have cosmetic surgery.
of Girlguiding UK,
reveals, ?Girls and young women tell us they are finding it hard to accept
their appearance, and it is starting at a much earlier age than we had previously
experts such as Professor Nichola Rumsey, a director of the UK Centre for
Appearance Research, she is worried that the crucial psychological concerns
that ignite the desire for cosmetic surgery are not being addressed.
plastic surgery frequently think that their dissatisfactions with their lives
will be solved by it.
Laura Pillarella, the woman driven to plan suicide after 15 unsatisfactory
procedures, said: ?I was manipulating my face to build a new self. I was lonely
as a child. My parents split up when I was six. Mum would often say giving
birth to me and my brothers had ruined her looks and body.?
She shared that
she was distant from her dad and is short of emotional security that she was
trying to boost her self-esteem. However, plastic surgery never satisfied her
and each operation bolstered her crusade to have her fixed.
her suicide schemes came to an end when her brother requested her to speak at his
wedding. Unexpectedly, according to her,
she felt valued and started, gradually, to realize her distress came from
now at 41, has written a book detailing her experiences, Chasing Beauty: My
Cosmetic Surgery Takeover. She said if only she can turn back the time, ?I
wouldn?t have surgery. I?d have therapy.?
message is what Charles Nduka, an NHS plastic surgeon, wishes many patients could
?We are seeing
a lot more people with psychological problems seeking plastic surgery,? says
Nduka, who works at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, West Sussex.
There are two
types of these patients, he says. Those who have pre-existing psychological
issues with their appearance, such as body dysmorphic disorder, which should be
having psychiatric help preferably than surgery; and young women who are quite attractive,
however have been made deeply unhappy with their bodies by continually
comparing themselves with airbrushed models.
that there is a growing problem of unrealistic expectations of surgical
operates the not-for-profit website safercosmeticsurgery.co.uk, says ?Ethical
surgeons spend a lot of time talking to patients about their motivations for
surgery and what they will achieve.? He progressively
finds himself recommending patients to psychologists.
As a matter of
fact, one survey discovered that surgeons recommend nearly 20 per cent of
patients to psychologists due to unrealistic expectations ? they may think it
will improve their lives dramatically by getting them the glamorous job or the
partner they want.
However Nduka cautions that frequently
patients never go to the psychologist and look for a less conscientious cosmetic surgeon.
warns, these kind of patients can get trapped in a costly and traumatic spiral
of serial surgery.
clinics do not adhere to good practice and is terribly concerned by the ?buy
one get one free? (BOGOF) promos and hard sell marketing that ?plays on
The British Association
of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) initiated a campaign to stop bad
practice, such as bonus cards and BOGOF offers three years ago,.
The problem of
the association ? which represents nearly a third of cosmetic surgeons ? is that they
are not a regulatory body and lacks the powers to take action.
Mr Nduka wishes
to see health warnings on overseas treatment. This is also a concern in the UK, as doctors
can set themselves up as plastic surgeons with no proper training.
BAAPS, Nigel Mercer, reveals: ?In Britain you can call yourself
something ? such as a facial plastic surgeon ? and need no relevant
qualifications or training. In this respect, we are worse than anywhere else
in Europe. Terrible things are happening to
BAAPS and the
Care Quality Commission (the independent health care regulator) are formulating
Europe-wide standards of safe practice and regulation.
?Patients ought to be able to get referrals to good clinical psychologists
after the event if someone is having problems. It is very important.?