Cosmetic surgeons urged to check patients' mental health

Doctors have advised that all patients wishing to undergo cosmetic surgery should be assessed to see if they are suffering from body dysmorphic disorder.

According to figures from Harley Medical Group, a cosmetic surgery provider in the UK, there has been a 39 per cent increase in the number of women opting to undergo breast enlargement surgery over the last 25 years.

However, doctors are concerned that many women who undergo cosmetic surgery may have body dysmorphic disorder, making them particularly vulnerable and meaning that they perhaps should not be encouraged to undergo treatment.

Writing in the journal Body Image, Dr David Sarwer, of the University of Pennsylvania's departments of psychiatry and surgery, and Dr Canice Crerand, of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, suggest that between five and 15 per cent of individuals who seek cosmetic surgery may be suffering from body dysmorphic disorder.

They point out that these individuals "rarely experience improvement in their symptoms" following cosmetic surgery and conclude that the disorder may be "a contraindication to cosmetic surgery and other treatments".

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