Thursday, November 29, 2007

Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Cosmetic Surgery

Here's some news on the always popular body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) front. The journal European Psychiatry published an article suggesting that...cosmetic surgery doesn't help patients with this problem. In other words, if you have a pathological sense that you're ugly, surgery to correct a "minimal defect" will not improve self-esteem or happiness. This despite the fact that most such patients report that they're satisfied with their results.

Not terribly shocking.

The authors speculate that:
Patients' declared satisfaction with surgery may contribute to explain why some plastic surgeons may not fully adhere to the contraindication of cosmetic surgery in BDD.
That's one interpretation. How about the fact that surgeons get hugely compensated for such operations and they don't have to bill insurance companies? It's cash on the barrelhead.

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4 Comments:

Blogger mmcan said...

WHy do you malign this service with a comment like "cash on the barrelhead"

Do you concern yourself with someone who pays $150K for a Bentley, or 6 figures for a zoom zoom Porsche? Most would agree that there are items that people want and acquire to "make them feel better" but probably never actually attain happiness.

The real deal is that plastic surgery is one of the LAST open and competitive markets in medicine, unfettered by Insurance and govt regs.

Big cars. Big tits. What do you care?!

It is the individual's choice to make. If you don't like it, don't indulge in it. And next time, don't stare so hard.

November 30, 2007 9:18 AM  
Blogger The Medicine Man said...

mmcan,

Sorry I got you so riled up. If you knew anything about my writing you'd know I'm pretty "free market" oriented. The problem I have is with plastic surgeons who operate on people with BDD to correct "minor" problems. Especially when, with this study, we have evidence that it doesn't improve how they feel about themselves.

If you're so wedded to the power of the marketplace that that doesn't bother you...well to each his own! And there's no need to get personal.

John

November 30, 2007 3:01 PM  
Blogger stevebMD said...

John, I'd probably take it one step further... Not only does plastic surgery on BDD patients fail to "improve how they feel about themselves," but it actually feeds their discontent and obsessiveness over perceived body flaws. While not technically malpractice, it is, at best, an expensive intervention-- and not without complications-- that does nothing to address the underlying reasons for the patient's dissatisfaction with her/his body. It is true that BDD is much more than skin-deep.

mmccan, I don't think Dr. Ford's comment was meant to "malign" the profit motive of plastic surgeons, but rather to question the use of people's health care dollars for procedures that show no benefit--- and, oh yeah, that are contraindicated.

December 01, 2007 1:22 PM  
Anonymous jenny said...

It may be the case. I saw on the news yesterday about the number of cosmetic plastic surgeries for teens under 18 was more than 300,000. That's crazy

December 03, 2007 4:45 AM  

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