cosmetic surgery and BDD

Superdrug screening Botox customers for Body Dysmorphic Disorder

We recently reported on the news that high street store Superdrug has started offering Botox as one of its in-store beauty treatments. It stipulated that this was only available to people over the age of 25 and they had to meet certain booking criteria including an assessment by a qualified nurse. In a report by the BBC recently, Superdrug said this involves “an hour-long consultation before cosmetic procedures take place and these include a mental health assessment.” Nevertheless, the decision to offer Botox injections in a high street setting has raised concerns amongst the cosmetic surgery community.

Potential problems with greater ease of access to cosmetic treatments

Many were concerned about the trivialisation of this procedure, as Gerard Lambe, consultant surgeon and spokesperson from the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons explained: “While Superdrug may be hiring medically trained nurses, it is crucial members of the public do not treat having Botox and dermal fillers as casual beauty treatments, like brow threading or waxing.”

The NHS also expressed concerns that people suffering from body dysmorphia (an excessively negative perspective on their body and appearance) could have such easy access to cosmetic treatments.

Ensuring ethical practice

It has now been announced that Superdrug has recognised these concerns and is reassuring consumers and the medical profession that it will be ‘fully committed’ to ensuring that stringent mental health checks are undertaken before people are approved for these high street Botox treatments in-store. In particular, patients will be screened for Body Dysmorphic Disorder, to ensure that patients are given the most appropriate guidance and information.

The particular challenge with the ease of procedures like this being allowed on the high street is how the desire to obtain it correlates with the satisfaction that customers feel afterwards.

The biggest issue for people who suffer with Body Dysmorphic Disorder is that they can feel very determined to undergo a cosmetic procedure, but that the resulting satisfaction with what they have chosen is often low. The BBC’s report explains that “fewer than 10% of patients with Body Dysmorphic Disorder were satisfied with the results of their cosmetic procedures.”

Identifying Body Dysmorphic Disorder or a patient’s unrealistic expectations is an important part of the cosmetic surgery consultation offered by an experienced, skilled and trained plastic surgeon.