At Form and Face, we are proud of the work we do. Our patients come to us with a problem (or two or three), and we help them achieve their aesthetic enhancement goals. Sometimes, however, a patient’s problem is not really cosmetic. It’s psychological.
An under-diagnosed problem called body dysmorphia gives people a distorted, unrealistic view of their appearance. In this important article about cosmetic surgery risks, we share the facts from a 2017 study. The information may surprise you. We hope the suggestions will help keep you safe.
Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder
There are no statistics on the number of people with body dysmorphia who seek cosmetic surgery in Australia. We can, however, use the United States as a model. In the U.S., 2% of the general population is believed to have BDD. That number jumps dramatically to 5-15% when you are talking about cosmetic surgery seekers.
BDD affects people at home and at work. In order to cope with their unrealistic self-image, they may
- Undertake ritualistic behaviours
- Obsessively compare themselves to others
- Engage in excessive grooming activities
- Check their perceived physical flaw constantly in mirrors and reflective surfaces
- Become agoraphobic (afraid to go out in public)
“Assessing a patient’s reasons for undergoing a cosmetic procedure is an important part of my job,” explains Dr Ben Norris, founder of our practice. “State of mind is just as important as state of health.”
Is Your Doctor Asking the Right Questions?
A newly released Dutch study examined whether doctors are aware of the prevalence of BDD in cosmetic surgery patients. Participants in the survey were members of Dutch professional associations for aesthetic plastic surgery, dermatology, and cosmetic medicine. Seventy percent of doctors said they would refuse to perform a procedure on someone with body dysmorphia. However…
- 8% said they occasionally included a discussion of body image in an initial consultation.
- 3% said they never addressed body image issues.
- 9% said they consistently talked about body image issues with patients during the initial consult.
The findings expose a serious gap in the knowledge of surgeons that routinely treat people with body image issues.
If It’s Right for You
Dr Norris advises all cosmetic surgery patients to seek out a highly trained and highly skilled specialty plastic surgeon. “You may not want to hear ‘no’ from a surgeon,” says Dr Norris, “but ‘no’ may be the best advice you can get.” If you’d like to know more about our safe, sensible approach to cosmetic enhancement, we invite you to reach out to us on 02 9387 3800 or use our online enquiry form.