Psychopathology symptoms in a sample of female cosmetic surgery patients

S. Mulkens, Arjan Bos, R. Uleman, P.E.H.M. Muris, B. Mayer, P. Velthuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: During the past decades, cosmetic surgery has become increasingly popular. People with certain psychopathology disorders, for example, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), are dissatisfied with their physical appearance, and a significant number try to receive cosmetic medical treatment for their complaints. It seems relatively easy for them to receive this type of surgery, despite the fact that it has no or even adverse effects on the symptoms. The present study aimed to investigate the psychological condition and especially the presence of psychopathological symptoms such as BDD in cosmetic surgery patients. Methods: Questionnaires about body image dissatisfaction, symptoms of BDD and psychopathology in general and satisfaction about surgery were sent to patients who had been treated in a large cosmetic surgery clinic. Results: Of the patients who replied, 86% were pleased with the outcome of the cosmetic procedure. Further, 21-59% of these former patients scored higher on questionnaires of body image dissatisfaction and psychopathological symptoms than a norm group from the general population. When differentiating the group on the basis of BDD symptomatology, it appeared that the high BDD symptomatic group displayed significantly worse outcome on all measurements. That is, high BDD symptomatic patients were more dissatisfied about the result of surgery, exhibited higher levels of psychopathology, and had lower self-esteem than the low symptomatic BDD patients. Conclusion: These findings clearly suggest that the evaluation of the psychological condition and motivation of the candidate patient might be a valuable addition to the standard procedure in cosmetic medical treatment settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-327
JournalJournal of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Volume65
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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