Obsessing on bodily flaws that may not even be real is a symptom of BDD: image via ocduk.org/bdd Though the findings may be the same for persons who desire tummy tucks or buttocks lifts, researchers from the University Hospitals Leuven in Belgium focused their research on people seeking nose jobs, or rhinoplasty. Their findings more than suggest a correlation with an obsessive disorder - body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
BDD is characterized by an obsession with one's appearance and an exaggerated perception of imaginary or minor body flaws. You may hate the way your legs look in shorts and wear long pants instead, but BDD can be so bad that sufferers don't even leave their homes, fearing others may see their flaws.
The Belgian researchers evaluated the sets of 266 responses to questionnaires administered to patients seeking rhinoplasty over a 16 month period. Of those patients seeking nose jobs for purely cosmetic reasons, 43 percent were identified with moderate or severe BDD. Just 2 percent of those seeking rhinoplasty for a medical condition, such as a deviated septum, were classified with BDD.
It should be noted that about 53 of the surveyed patients were seeking a second nose job.
Plastic surgeons are very familiar with patients with BDD. These patients return for surgery again and again, often on different parts of their bodies. It is hoped that the Belgian study will help surgeons identify patients with BDD so that they can recommend appropriate counseling for these patients prior to performing surgery. The study will be published in the August issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.