Only two percent of people with BDD who undergo plastic surgery are satisfied with the results. BDD is a chronic preoccupation with a physical blemish that is either imaginary, or a something minor that has little to no effect on how others actually see them.
People with BDD do not often seek treatment because they do not realize how they are distorting their appearance. Symptoms of BDD are spending an inordinate amount of time in front of a mirror, maybe trying to cover the defect, or they may obsessively pick at their skin.
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The blemish is often touched or measured, and BDD sufferers solicit constant reassurance that the problem is minor. Because their mind is fixated on the defect (real or imagined), their ability to focus or concentrate is poor. Those with BDD may avoid public places and be extremely anxious when around people. Repeatedly, they consult with doctors about correcting the problem.
Even if the blemish is real and removed, most people with BDD find a new defect to focus on, or they imagine the results to be poor. Cosmetic surgeons should screen for BDD and MDD, but they are not required to.
Dr. Donald Brown, a San Franciso plastic surgeon, recommends, "Patients who enter cosmetic surgery with unrealistic hopes are invariably disappointed with the results. Changing a part of the body does not make a person's life improve. It does improve their appearance, giving them more social confidence and self satisfaction."
Those who have plausible expectations usually have specific ideas about how they want the blemish or body part to look post-surgery. They are also aware that the result they are hoping for may be different from the actual outcome.
Some adolescents and young adults benefit from plastic surgery; however, there are many young people having procedures done for questionable reasons. Feelings of insecurity, low self-esteem, or wanting to emulate someone admired, are by themselves not worth the risk of poor outcomes, scarring, or worse.
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Under the right circumstances and expectations, cosmetic surgery is an uplifting experience. If you are interested, make sure you see a qualified surgeon who takes the time to discuss all aspects of the procedure with you.