Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an obsessive-compulsive related disorder characterized by an individual's preoccupation with the appearance of at least 1 perceived physical flaw. The bodily concerns held by individuals with BDD are largely unnoticeable, if at all, to other individuals. Those living with BDD are compelled to engage in repetitive behaviors or cognitive acts that interfere with daily function and activities. Despite the high prevalence of BDD in patients who seek cosmetic procedures (ie, as high as 1 in 5 such patients) and the availability of validated screening tools for this disorder, implementing a protocol of regularly screening for BDD is only rarely practiced by surgeons. Few studies have investigated its prevalence in the setting of elective dentoalveolar and orthognathic procedures. With the scope of practice of maxillofacial surgeons expanding in recent years to include facial cosmetic procedures, it is becoming increasingly important to screen for such disorders so that patients and physicians can appropriately weigh the risks and benefits of surgical intervention.
We conducted a cross-sectional cohort study (n = 46) consisting of 3 groups of patients, who were seeking either facial cosmetic, orthognathic, or dentoalveolar procedures. All patients in the study were screened for BDD using the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Questionnaire (BDDQ) and assessed for severity of disorder using the BDDQ severity scale. Additional patient variables included age, sex, history of psychiatric diagnosis, primary diagnosis, and type of operation/procedure being sought.
Among the 3 groups, patients seeking dentoalveolar surgery were the most represented (67%) in this sample, followed by cosmetic surgery (27%) and orthognathic surgery (6%). Twenty-six female participants and 20 male participants were included, with an overall mean age of 38 years. Two percent of participants carried a previous psychiatric diagnosis and 10.8% of the sample were classified as high-risk for BDD. The group containing the highest proportion of patients at high-risk for BDD were those seeking facial cosmetic procedures (16.7%), followed by those seeking dentoalveolar procedures (10%); none of the patients seeking orthognathic procedures were found to be at high-risk for BDD (0%).
The BDDQ is an efficient way to screen for BDD in patients who are seeking orthognathic or facial cosmetic surgery. In our sample, patients presenting to maxillofacial surgeons for facial cosmetic surgery were found to score significantly higher on the BDDQ than those presenting for dentoalveolar surgery. In contrast to results of previous literature, patients seeking orthognathic surgery in our sample demonstrated no elevated risk for BDD, a finding which may be attributable to our small sample size. Ultimately, the data obtained from this study can aid surgeons in identifying patients with BDD in their own surgical practice, so that they may appropriately triage patients who may, or may not, benefit from surgical intervention.