Body Dysmorphia in Cosmetic Surgery

Almost everyone has aspects of their appearance they wish were different. However, for those struggling with body dysmorphia, these concerns can escalate to the point where they interfere with daily life. Discussing body dysmorphia is an essential part of the conversation when considering cosmetic surgery, as the condition can significantly impact perception and outcomes.

At Pop Recovery Systems, we help women nationwide prioritize overall well-being by offering an array of support services designed to help women maintain optimal mental and physical health before and after surgery. We work with therapists, lifestyle coaches, and much more to help you get the best outcomes from your surgery.

What Is Body Dysmorphia?

When it comes to physical appearance, it’s normal to have preferences or desires for change. However, BDD, or body dysmorphic disorder, takes these concerns to an excessive level, often disrupting daily activities and causing severe emotional distress. Characterized by a preoccupation with perceived flaws, often minor or even unnoticeable to others, BDD can lead to obsessive thoughts and behaviors, such as excessive mirror-checking, reassurance-seeking, and even avoidance of social situations.

What Causes Body Dysmorphia?

Determining the root causes of body dysmorphia disorder isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor. However, it is generally accepted that a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors contribute to its onset. While some may have a genetic predisposition, the disorder often coexists with other mental health conditions like anxiety or depression. Environmental triggers such as societal beauty standards or negative body image experiences can also play a role.

Signs of Body Dysmorphia

Recognizing body image disorders is an important step, particularly in a context where plastic surgery and mental health are intertwined. Warning signs include but aren’t limited to a preoccupation with one or more perceived flaws, a tendency to compare oneself excessively to others, avoidance of social situations, and the use of heavy makeup or clothing to camouflage perceived defects. If any of these symptoms interfere with your daily life or lead you to consider cosmetic procedures as a “fix,” it’s crucial to consult healthcare providers for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options.

The Importance of Addressing BDD Before Cosmetic Surgery

For many plastic surgeons, severe body dysmorphia in cosmetic surgery is a contraindication, meaning that it can be a reason to postpone or avoid the procedure altogether. This precautionary measure is taken because cosmetic surgery rarely mitigates the symptoms of BDD. In fact, many individuals with BDD remain dissatisfied after surgery or transfer their obsessive focus to another perceived flaw.

Understanding this, it becomes crucial to address and treat BDD prior to undergoing any cosmetic procedures. Without proper psychological evaluation and treatment, the cycle of dissatisfaction can continue, potentially leading to multiple, unnecessary surgeries. Addressing BDD isn’t just a checkbox but a significant step toward ensuring your well-being in both the short and long term.

Common Body Dysmorphia Treatments

When it comes to managing body dysmorphia, a multi-faceted approach often yields the best results. While surgical intervention isn’t usually recommended for individuals dealing with this disorder, there are several clinically validated treatments that can help manage its symptoms effectively and get you into a better frame of mind.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

One of the most well-researched forms of psychotherapy for body dysmorphia treatments is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This method focuses on identifying and challenging distorted thought patterns, offering tools to change unhealthy behaviors and reactions. CBT is typically delivered in a structured format, requiring active participation to learn and apply new cognitive and behavioral strategies.


Pharmacological intervention can also be a part of body dysmorphia treatments. Antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have been found to be effective in reducing obsessive-compulsive behaviors and emotional distress linked to BDD. It’s essential to consult a healthcare provider for an appropriate diagnosis and medication plan, which is often most effective when combined with other forms of treatment, like CBT.

Our Process for Cosmetic Surgery Support

12 Weeks of Pre-Treatment Care

The four weeks leading up to your procedure are vital for your overall preparedness. During this time, we focus on ensuring that you are both mentally and physically ready for your surgery. From genetic testing to mental health screenings and counseling, we aim to not only ascertain your suitability for the procedure but also to provide you with the necessary support. This is especially critical for those grappling with BDD, as this time can be used to initiate or continue treatment plans that address the condition.

12 Weeks of Post-Surgical Recovery Coaching

The journey doesn’t end when the surgery is completed. We offer an eight-week post-surgical recovery coaching program that includes therapy and other resources designed to tackle any unexpected mental health concerns that may arise. Addressing body dysmorphia or other emotional hurdles post-surgery is as important as the physical recovery process itself. Our integrated approach aims to keep you mentally resilient and physically healthy, facilitating a smoother and faster recovery period.

Mental Health Coaching

Acknowledging the interplay between body dysmorphic disorder and plastic surgery and mental health is a cornerstone of our approach. To cater to diverse needs and preferences, we offer a variety of mental health coaching techniques. Whether it’s reiki, tapping, hypnotherapy, or traditional cognitive-behavioral methods, the practitioners we partner with can customize a plan to suit your unique needs. This holistic approach ensures that you’re not just physically prepared for surgery but mentally equipped as well.

Nutrition and Supplement Coaching to Support Mental Health

Physical and mental well-being are two sides of the same coin. Poor nutrition can exacerbate mental health issues, making conditions like body dysmorphia in cosmetic surgery more challenging to manage. Through our programs, we offer nutrition and supplement coaching tailored to support your mental health. From designing nutrient-rich meal plans to recommending supplements that can aid in mental clarity and emotional stability, we can help integrate physical and mental wellness into your overall care plan.

Concierge Wellness

We understand that the logistics of preparing for and recovering from a surgical procedure can be overwhelming. Our concierge wellness service aims to alleviate this stress by taking care of all the details for you. From arranging room and board for your recovery to organizing therapeutic sessions, we ensure that you can focus solely on your personal health and healing. For those dealing with body image disorders or post-surgical depression, this extra layer of logistical support can make a significant difference in the overall quality of your pre- and post-surgical experience.

Addressing Body Dysmorphia in Cosmetic Surgery

Addressing body dysmorphia is crucial for anyone considering cosmetic surgery. At Pop Recovery Systems, we offer a nationwide service focused on both your physical and mental well-being, ensuring you have comprehensive support every step of the way. To take the first step toward a healthier you, reach out to us at (202) 900-6402 or fill out our online form today.