Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is this cosmetic surgery unhealthy?"
My friend has been talking about having cosmetic surgery to bulk up his legs because he thinks they are 'too thin'. He has found a doctor who will probably do it, but I am worried about his mental state. How do you know if someone has body image disorders?
Cosmetic surgery is becomingly increasingly common. With this trend, it is becomingly increasingly talked about. I would encourage you to have a frank discussion regarding this with your friend. In addition, encouraging him to have a frank discussion with his primary care doctor would also be of benefit. Cosmetic surgery alone is not a sign of a psychiatric condition. While debatable, many people have valid concerns regarding their appearance and gain significant increase in self-esteem and confidence by the procedure. In these cases, this can drastically improve one's psychiatric state. The condition we often worry about in people pursuing cosmetic surgery, often with repeat cosmetic surgery, is body dysmorphic disorder. This is a disorder in which the patient is excessively concerned regarding a perceived flaw in his or her appearance. By definition, this concern will result in impairment in social, occupational or emotional functioning. Patients often have concomitant psychiatric disorders like eating disorders or depression. There is no specific way to diagnose the condition. A psychiatrist can be of help. In general, if you have concerns that his preoccupation with his legs are significantly affecting his life functioning, that you should discuss this with him. Keep in mind all patients should see their primary care doctor prior to any surgery for "medical clearance." Evaluation of this will/should include addressing this topic.
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