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Full Body Photography in the Massive Weight Loss Population: An Inquiry to Optimize Patient-Centered Care

Wasicek, Philip BA*; Kaswan, Sumesh MD*; Messing, Susan MS; Gusenoff, Jeffrey A. MD

doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e31824f2227
Reconstructive Surgery

Medical photography of body contouring patients often requires complete nudity, placing patients in a vulnerable situation. We investigated patient perspectives on full body photography in an effort to better protect the patients and enhance comfort with the photography process. Sixty-five massive weight loss patients were identified who underwent body contouring surgery with full body photography. Photographs were taken at the time of initial consult, time of marking, and postoperatively. A retrospective chart review was performed to assess body mass indices and comorbidities, and a telephone survey inquired about several aspects of the photographic process. Fifty-six (86%) patients participated. Patients were more comfortable at the time of markings (P = 0.0004) and at the postoperative session (P = 0.0009). Patients’ perception of positive body image increased after body contouring surgery (P < 0.0001). Patients who reported being comfortable at their initial session had a higher body mass index (P = 0.0027). Professionalism of the staff was rated as the most important aspect of the photographic process. Patients preferring a chaperone of the same sex tended to be less comfortable with the process (P = 0.015). Most patients preferred the surgeon as the photographer (P = 0.03). Patient comfort with full body photography improves quickly as they move through the surgical process. Maintaining professionalism is the most important factor in achieving patient trust and comfort. Limiting the number of observers in the room, providing explicit details of the photography process, and having at least 1 person of the same sex in the room can optimize patient safety and comfort.

From the *Life After Weight Loss Program, Division of Plastic Surgery, and †Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, NY; and ‡Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

Received November 28, 2011, and accepted for publication, after revision, February 6, 2012.

Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.

Reprints: Jeffrey A. Gusenoff, MD, Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 3380 Boulevard of the Allies, Suite 180, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. E-mail:

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins