Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Cosmetic Surgery

BodyWhen you look in the mirror, do you constantly find something just absolutely terrible with your body? You may be struggling with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).

Plastic surgeons are becoming increasingly familiar with patients struggling with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). The American Society of Plastic Surgeons survey recently noted that BDD may be “under diagnosed”. A surgeon should question your body image problems during consultation.

When interested in a cosmetic procedure and experience some type of body dysmorphic disorder the surgeon should consider and evaluate their patients for BDD. The ASPS are linking personal, social, or occupational impairment in relation to extreme dissatisfaction in body images to mental health problems- including very serious conditions such as depression, and suicide risk.

Many plastic surgeons and cosmetic professionals stated they are fairly familiar with the disorder and aware of the diagnosis. Studies have shown about two percent of the general population experiences Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and as high as ten percent in patients seeking cosmetic procedures.

Many surgeons stated they sometimes addressed body image problems with their patients while others stated they rarely routinely did. Some surgeons collaborated with psychiatrists and psychologists to have a better understanding of BDD.

Many patients inquiring about cosmetic procedures have or experience some type of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). Studies have shown that after having a procedure they remain dissatisfied with their results and seek more procedures. This is a result from the effects of the disorder. As a result, Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is considered a “contraindication” for plastic surgery in other words it can hinder your ultimate expectations. Many surgeons stated they would refuse a patient they suspect with BDD because of these circumstances.

A patient with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) should be referred to a psychiatrist or psychologist. Some surgeons have reported refusing treatment and received verbal altercations and minor legal threats. It is ultimately up to the surgeon to decide whether you are a good candidate for a cosmetic surgery or procedure, they are seeking your best interest not theirs.

With the different studies performed this suggest more surgeons should receive more education about management and recognitions in BDD. It should be a standard topic with every patient during their consultation to understand realistic expectations.

Dr. Shienbaum is a double board-certified plastic surgeon with over 30 years of experience in all forms of Cosmetic Plastic Surgery, including Liposuction, Tummy Tucks, Mommy Makeovers, Breast Augmentation, and Brazilian Butt Lift. He provides services for the entire Tampa area, including St. Pete, Clearwater, and Bradenton, Florida. 

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