Beauty and the eye of the beholder: social consequences and personal adjustments for facial patients
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Patients' pre- and postoperative self-reports were compared with reports of non-medical observers to investigate whether improved self-esteem is a direct result of increased social acceptance in maxillo- and craniofacial patients. Twenty-two children and adolescents undergoing reconstructive surgery for a variety of facial deformities were asked to rate their physical appearance on the Hay's Scale and fill out the Piers-Harris Self-Concept Scale. Their ratings were compared with scores given by a panel of lay volunteers on random presentation of pre- and postoperative photographs of the same patients. Patients rated their appearance as noticeably improved after surgery, their self-esteem rose significantly and they reported more social adeptness and acceptance at home and school. Raters observed only relatively subtle changes. Apparently, quality of life improved for the postsurgical facial patient because of increased self-esteem and confidence, which free him to overcome social barriers.
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