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Body Dysmorphia and the role it plays in Cosmetic Surgery

Many of us have a different, and often more critical view of ourselves than how others perceive us. This is also very true of how we feel about the way we look, but there is a devastating condition which affects a small percentage called Body Dysmorphia.

What is Body Dysmorphia?

It is always shocking to see the extreme measures some individuals go to when it comes to changing their bodies through cosmetic surgery. It is quite often that these individuals have a psychological disorder called body dysmorphia. Body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD as it can also be referred to, is an anxiety disorder that will cause a person to have a distorted view of themselves and how they look. They may spend excessive amounts of time worrying about their appearance, which often affect every aspect of their everyday life.

What may appear to be a completely normal looking feature to you and I, to those that suffer with BDD they will often obsess over it daily to change their appearance in any way they can. Many find it difficult to look at themselves in the mirror being so unhappy with their appearance through how they see themselves.

If you, or someone you know is affected by body dysmorphia you can find additional information and help about the condition at

Is it responsible for a cosmetic surgeon to perform on a person with body dysmorphia?

Responsible surgeons will recognise patients with this condition through conducting a thorough consultation. Where this condition is identified a process of referring such patients to undergo a psychological evaluation occurs to ensure that the best course of treatment is agreed upon before any treatment is conducted. The right procedure might be not to undergo a procedure at all. Together with other specialists, a holistic and practical approach is taken to accommodating the patient’s cosmetic realistic aspirations.

Where such safeguards are not adhered to by responsible surgeons, this frequently results in patients finding alternative providers, often travelling abroad to get their treatment. While patients suffering with BDD returning for subsequent cosmetic procedures are often more easily identified (than those undergoing their first procedure) in that the earlier surgery had a very good outcome, yet they are dissatisfied with the result, a warning sign for surgeons are requests for surgery on an area without any obvious issues apparent.

Surgeons have a moral obligation to the patient to ensure their safety. This includes not performing surgery on a patient with any psychological illness without a specialist psychiatric evaluation to guide their assessment.

Large celebrity event

Media culture and its influence with unrealistic expectations

We can often be quick to blame the media and its constant push for perfection. Most images commonly featured in the media of celebrities and size zero models will undoubtedly have been airbrushed. While many of us are quick to identify this it frequently causes us to compare ourselves resulting in a negative view of how we see ourselves.

The media can often make you feel inadequate, for example after a celebrity has a baby they’re incredibly quick to spring back to their pre-baby bodies and it puts an enormous amount of pressure on women to lose weight straight after birth.

What is often misunderstood is that behind the celebrity is a team of nutritionists, personal trainers, nannies and sometimes surgical or non-surgical procedures as well to help them look fabulous a few weeks after giving birth. Such transformation are not healthy expectations to put on yourselves or achievable for the average woman. Although most people understand this and have a realistic view of what they are seeing in the media, such images to those suffering with body dysmophia frequently can have a devastating effect on such individuals.

Celebrities and individuals who have extreme cosmetic surgery and the negative impact they have on the industry

In a quest to gain fame and notoriety some individuals take cosmetic surgery to such an extreme that they become a distorted caricature of themselves. They are usually operated on by unscrupulous surgeons who perform multiple procedures to get the individual to the state of looking shocking to other people and leave the patient with possible future complications.

Wealthy individuals may seek to encourage a surgeon to perform cosmetic surgery on them despite their better judgement as to what is natural looking. Let’s not forget that when used appropriately cosmetic surgery can have a positive impact on a person’s life and well being.

When an individual is unhappy with their body it can have a devastating effect on their everyday life. It can often affect their confidence to such a degree that they feel they have to hide a certain area of their body due to the shame they feel. When an individual is emotionally healthy, but impacted by a body abnormality caused by birth or trauma, cosmetic surgery can change their lives for the better.

When it comes to slowing down the ageing process, we often do not feel the age we look on the outside as the age we feel on the inside. Some people prefer to hold onto a youthful appearance by opting for surgical and even non-surgical options, whereas some people are happy to allow the ageing process to progress naturally. We believe it is the choice of the individual to make the decision on how they age and want them to feel happy and confident in their own skin.

At Bella Vou our surgeons are trained to recognise body dysmorphia as a condition and will encourage any individual to seek the appropriate treatment. Our professional and ethical standards ensure that we do not operate on individuals who may be vulnerable without a thorough and detailed evaluation of their medical and psychiatric history.

Medically reviewed by

Amir Nakhdjevan Profile

Amir Nakhdjevani

Last Updated: July 24, 2017

Published On: July 24, 2017

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