Plastic Surgery Addiction

Some people are under the impression that plastic surgeons would love to have a patient addicted to plastic surgery. It’s good for business, right? Nothing could be further from the truth. Although plastic surgery addicts do spend a lot of money on surgery, they are in no way good for business. Because they are never satisfied with results, these patients are very bad for our practice, the profession, and ultimately themselves.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Those who become obsessed with the idea of fixing potential flaws in their body can develop a condition called body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). This mental illness is also known as “imagined ugliness.” Patients may develop flaws that are so minor they are nonexistent to anyone but themselves.

With the increased availability of plastic surgery, those who suffer from body dysmorphic disorder can return for multiple treatments, addicted not to the surgery itself or even the results, but to the hope that this next surgery will make them feel good about their appearance.

But because the problem is in their mind and not their body, they are never satisfied with results, no matter how good they look. They often return, demanding revision surgery for good results or asking for ever more extreme procedures.

When one surgeon refuses to perform the demanded surgery, they may become belligerent and/or seek out another surgeon. They may lie about their medical history or keep shopping around until they find a surgeon unscrupulous to ignore the risks. As with other addictions, plastic surgery addiction continues until the person gets help or suffers serious injury, even death.

Fortunately, BDD is rare, and during our consultations we carefully evaluate every patient to make sure they are good candidates psychologically for plastic surgery. However, we cannot be sure of catching every candidate before surgery and ask that you be vigilant as well.

Warning Signs of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

If you or a loved one exhibits any of the following traits, body dysmorphic disorder might be to blame:

  • Frequent cosmetic surgery procedures
  • An obsession with their physical appearance
  • Either frequently looking in mirrors or avoiding mirrors
  • Excessively grooming, plucking or waxing
  • Refusal to partake in social situations because they don’t “look right”
  • Refusal to be photographed

For more information about plastic surgery in the Arlington area, please contact experienced plastic surgeon Dr. Desman at the Virginia Center for Plastic Surgery today to schedule your no-cost consultation.