LONDON, November 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Around 20 per cent of plastic surgery patients are referred to psychologists due to unrealistic psychological expectations, according to cosmetic surgeons at nationwide clinic Mybreast.
Female and male patients who show signs of poor body image are often referred to see a clinical psychologist to analyse whether surgery is the right choice for them.
Although these patients are mainly female, Dr Alex Clarke, a psychologist at The Royal Free Hospital in London, says there is an increasing number of men with physical insecurities and psychological issues as well, especially in the area of 'man boobs'.
Mybreast (http://www.mybreast.org/) Consultant Plastic Surgeon Stephen Hamilton says: "There is a significant proportion of patients who have unrealistic expectations and in some cases there are considerable psychological issues involved; we would turn down these patients."
Dr Alex Clarke says there are some very clear situations in which the risks involved in surgery are increased.
She said: "These risks are: psychiatric conditions where judgement is impaired, such as eating disorders, and body dysmorphic disorder. "
"In addition, all adolescent patients need a thorough assessment, as do those who have multiple appearance concerns or are being influenced by someone else."
Fellow Mybreast Consultant Plastic Surgeon Barbara Jemec says: "There are patients who you know will not be helped by plastic surgery on the level they think it will."
"Yes, it will boost self-confidence, but it won't change everything - plastic surgery can't bring your ex-boyfriend back (if that's the reason they're doing it)."
"People can have unrealistic expectations about what they want. In the case of liposuction for example, it can't make a fat person thin," Jemec said.
Dr Alex Clarke says an ideal candidate for cosmetic surgery is someone who is able to describe the procedure, where the outcome is clearly objective and measurable.
"This means that the patient knows that she wants bigger breasts, for example, but does not associate surgery with a massive life change or think it will directly influence the behaviour of others towards her."
All Mybreast surgeons are members of BAAPS* and/or BAPRAS** and now offer all cosmetic procedures.
*British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
**British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery