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J Am Acad Dermatol. 2019 Jan 30. pii: S0190-9622(19)30170-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2019.01.059. [Epub ahead of print]

Patients Believe Cosmetic Procedures Affect Their Quality of Life: An Interview Study of Patient-Reported Motivations.

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Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; VA Boston Healthcare System: Jamaica Plain, Boston, MA; Department of Dermatology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.
Department of Dermatology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL.
Department of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL.
Department of Dermatology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL; Department of Otolaryngology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; Department of Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. Electronic address:



While treatments to address cosmetic concerns are common, patients' self-reported motives for considering such procedures have not been systematically explored.


To develop a framework of categories to describe patient's self-reported motivations for undergoing minimally invasive cosmetic procedures.


Face-to-face, semi-structured patient interviews were conducted with adult participants who had received or were considering minimally invasive cosmetic dermatologic procedures. A qualitative constant comparative approach was employed to analyze interview transcripts, yielding themes and subthemes.


30 interviews were completed. Most patient-reported motivations for cosmetic procedures could be subsumed under eight general categories (themes): 1) mental and emotional health, 2) cosmetic appearance, 3) physical health, 4) work/school success, 5) social well-being, 6) cost/convenience, 7) procedural perceptions, and 8) timing of treatment. Many individual motivations in these categories were unrelated to desire for physical beauty. In particular, participants wanted to avoid being self-conscious, enhance confidence, reduce time and expense required to conceal physical imperfections, and be perceived as capable at work.


Only English-speaking patients in the U.S. were interviewed.


Patient-reported motivations for cosmetic procedures mostly pertained to physical and psychosocial well-being. Indeed, a desire for improved cosmetic appearance comprised only one of the 8 themes revealed through patient interviews.


affect; appearance; believe; cosmetic; emotion; interview; motivations; patient; patient reported; procedures; qualitative; quality of life


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