Prevalence of body dysmorphic disorder among patients seeking breast reconstruction

Drew B. Metcalfe, Claire S. Duggal, Allen Gabriel, Maurice Y. Nahabedian, Grant W. Carlson, Albert Losken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is characterized by a preoccupation with a slight or imagined defect in physical appearance. It has significant implications for patients who desire breast reconstruction, because patient satisfaction with the aesthetic outcome is a substantial contributor to the success of the procedure. Objectives: The authors estimated the prevalence of BDD among women seeking breast reconstruction by surveying patients with the previously validated Dysmorphic Concerns Questionnaire (DCQ). Methods: One hundred eighty-eight women who presented for immediate or delayed breast reconstruction completed the DCQ anonymously, during initial consultation with a plastic surgeon. Two groups of respondents were identified: those who desired immediate reconstruction and those who planned to undergo delayed reconstruction. The prevalence of BDD among breast reconstruction patients was compared between the 2 groups, and the overall prevalence was compared with published rates for the general public. Results: Body dysmorphic disorder was significantly more prevalent in breast reconstruction patients than in the general population (17% vs 2%; P < .001). It also was much more common among patients who planned to undergo delayed (vs immediate) reconstruction (34% vs 13%; P = .004). Conclusions: Relative to the general public, significantly more women who sought breast reconstruction were diagnosed as having BDD. Awareness of the potential for BDD will enable clinicians to better understand their patients perspectives and discuss realistic expectations at the initial consultation. Future studies are warranted to examine the implications of BDD on patient satisfaction with reconstructive surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)733-737
Number of pages5
JournalAesthetic surgery journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Dysmorphic Concerns Questionnaire (DCQ)
  • body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)
  • breast reconstruction
  • mastectomy
  • tissue expander
  • transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (TRAM) flap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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