Why does someone seek cosmetic surgery?
It is a question that we often face at the Aesthetic Beauty Centre and it can, on occasion, prove problematic.
Most of us have insecurities about our looks, and some choose to address these by having cosmetic surgery. For the majority of patients it provides the answer and they leave the clinic feeling happier and more confident. Yet, for a small minority, underlying issues mean that no matter how they look, they feel dissatisfied or even depressed. In such cases, cosmetic surgery should not be performed.
What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)?
An estimated one per cent of the UK’s population suffers from Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). It affects men and women equally, and can start from as young as 11 and last into old age. Those suffering from the condition perceive themselves as ugly, regardless of how they look, and can often become acutely depressed.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder sufferers are typically drawn to cosmetic surgery but the Body Dysmorphic Foundation cautions against this. It states: “It is proven that surgery for someone with BDD unfortunately almost never resolves the problem. In the main it exacerbates the situation, and in some cases, shifts the area of concern to somewhere else on the body.” Instead, the Foundation recommends Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and/or medication.
At the Aesthetic Beauty Centre, we have seen a number of such cases over the years and would never perform a procedure on someone we suspected of having Body Dysmorphic Disorder. We know that about 10 to 15 per cent of patients presenting in cosmetic clinics have mild to moderate forms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, they literally want to change their body. They don’t like it and will spend hours in front of the mirror. We, as doctors, need to be careful to screen these people out because you can never satisfy them.
At the Aesthetic Beauty Centre, a psychological questionnaire is used to help identify suspected BDD sufferers and others for whom cosmetic surgery may not be appropriate. There has been a recent push for patients having invasive cosmetic surgery to have a psychological assessment pre-procedure as standard. To some extent, the patient has to take some responsibility but you need to identify the hidden agenda.
If you want to know more about the Aesthetic Beauty Centre and our commitment to the highest standards of patient care, please contact us.