One-Third of Rhinoplasty Patients Suffer from “Ima

In a study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Belgian researchers found out that 33 percent of patients who had a nose job suffer from a condition known as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)—an unhealthy obsession over minor flaws in one’s appearance, causing them to feel ugly. This disorder pushes persons afflicted with it to pursue unnecessary cosmetic surgery. In addition, depression, eating disorders and suicidal tendencies are also among the symptoms of BDD.

The researchers studied 266 rhinoplasty patients. Of those who sought rhinoplasty solely for cosmetic purposes, 43 percent of the patients showed BDD symptoms, with only 2 percent of patients seeking rhinoplasty for medical purposes. Severe symptoms of BDD manifested in patients who were seeking to revise a previous nose job. Previous studies showed only a 6 percent to 15 percent outcome of patients suffering from BDD. Smaller studies, however, indicated a 54 percent rating.

Medical studies revealed that half of all Americans suffer from BDD, making it more common than schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In a way, BDD is similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder because people with BDD tend to become obsessed with the little flaws, resulting in time-consuming rituals and unnecessary cosmetic procedures.

BDD also triggers suicidal thoughts. In fact, at least 22 percent of BDD sufferers have already attempted suicide. Due to the imagined ugliness, people afflicted with BDD tend to develop social phobia, depression and other disorders.

Derrick Antell, MD, a well-known plastic surgeon from New York City, says that it is their dissatisfaction with their appearance that drives these individuals to undergo plastic surgery.

“Even a small improvement in a scar or the appearance of their nose can make a huge difference in self-esteem to these patients,” Dr. Antell adds.