Saturday, May 29, 2010

Plastic Hollywood

Hollywood is no stranger to plastic surgery.  Throughout the years there have been many celebrities who have gone under the knife with both exemplary results and those mishaps that grace the cover of weekly tabloid magazines.  The main difference is aesthetic plastic surgery as a whole is that it has become more socially acceptable than in years past.  This "social acceptance" of sorts has become a double-edged sword for both celebrities and laypeople alike.  More and more physicians are coming across patients who don't know when to stop, who seem to be "addicted" to plastic surgery procedures, or frankly suffer from a medical condition known as "body dysmorphic disorder". 

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a defined as a disorder in which the affected person is excessively concerned or preoccupied by a perceived defect in his or her physical appearance.  This usually leads to disruption in one's ability to function in their daily activities as the affected person considers their perceived defect to be shameful and embarrassing.  This disorder has also been associated in conjunction with anorexia and bulimia, as well as social anxiety, OCD, and ensuing depression. 
BDD is of concern in the field of plastic surgery, and now more magnified with some celebrities getting repeated procedures, camera-ready with distorted features and all.  Patients with BDD may come to appointments requesting multiple procedures that they are not suitable candidates for.  Plastic surgeons should decline to operate further on patients who display signs of BDD and appropriately refer them to a psychiatrist if needed. Enabling only seems to make things worse, as we saw in the case of Michael Jackson.

As seen in the lay press recently, reality star Heidi Montag, 23, underwent 10 surgical procedures in one day.  What would lead an attractive young lady to want to bring upon such drastic physical changes all at one time?  Is there an underlying psychological issue that should have been addressed or is this just a major publicity stunt (or some wacky combination thereof?).  It's a slippery slope in the celebrity-obsessed culture that we live in, and an issue that seems increaslingly prevalent as plastic surgery takes a front row seat in pop culture--on the internet, film and television. 

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