Surgery Given Even if Person Has Disorder

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Aug. 12 (UPI) — Those with body dysmorphic disorder, a preoccupation with a slight defect, should seek a psychiatrist not a plastic surgeon, a U.S. researcher says.

Study co-author Dr. Katharine A. Phillips, director of the body image program at Rhode Island Hospital, says body dysmorphic disorder is a psychiatric disorder characterized by preoccupation with an imagined or slight defect in appearance which causes clinically significant distress or functional impairment.


“A majority of these individuals believe they have an actual deformity that can be corrected by cosmetic treatments to fix these perceived defects rather than seeking psychiatric intervention,” Phillips says in a statement.

Phillips and co-author Canice Crerand of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia say the study involved 200 people with body dysmorphic disorder. Thirty-one percent sought and 21 percent received surgical or minimally invasive treatment for body dysmorphic disorder symptoms.

Nearly all of the subjects continued to have body dysmorphic disorder symptoms, while some actually developed new appearance preoccupations.

In addition, in a survey of 265 cosmetic surgeons, 65 percent reported treating patients with body dysmorphic disorder but only 1 percent of the cases resulted in body dysmorphic disorder symptom improvement.

The study is published in the Annals of Plastic Surgery.

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