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Body Image. 2008 Mar;5(1):50-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2007.08.003. Epub 2008 Feb 5.

Body dysmorphic disorder and appearance enhancing medical treatments.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Center for Weight and Eating Disorders, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 10 Penn Tower, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. dsarwer@mail.med.upenn.edu


This article reviews the literature on body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) in persons who seek appearance enhancing medical treatments such as cosmetic surgery and dermatological treatment. We begin with a discussion of the growing popularity of cosmetic surgical and minimally invasive treatments. The literature investigating the psychological characteristics is briefly highlighted. Studies investigating the rate of BDD among persons who seek appearance enhancing treatments are detailed and, collectively, suggest that approximately 5-15% of individuals who seek these treatments suffer from BDD. Retrospective reports suggest that persons with BDD rarely experience improvement in their symptoms following these treatments, leading some to suggest that BDD is a contraindication to cosmetic surgery and other treatments. The clinical management of patients with BDD who present for these treatments is briefly described and directions for future research are provided.

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