The Prevalence of Psychiatric Disorders Among Elective Plastic Surgery Patients

Benjamin Jang, MD; Dhaval R. Bhavsar, MD


ePlasty. 2019;19(e6) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Purpose: Psychiatric disorder is one of the predictors of poor outcome in cosmetic plastic surgery patients. A US study in 1960 showed that 72.4% of 98 cosmetic plastic surgery patients had a psychiatric disorder. In our study, we predict that the prevalence of psychiatric disorders will be statistically significant among patients seeking elective plastic surgery in comparison with the general US population.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective review study of 1000 adult patients seeking elective plastic surgery at The University of Kansas Medical Center Plastic Surgery Department from 2011 to 2016.

Results: From 1000 patients seeking elective plastic surgery procedure, 441 (44.1%) patients have or had a history of psychiatric disorder. Most common psychiatric disorders were major depressive disorder (n = 223; 50.6%) and generalized anxiety disorder (n = 145; 32.9%).

Conclusion: Our study indicates that psychiatric disorders are prevalent in patients seeking elective plastic surgery at our institution. Anxiety and depression were the most common diagnoses, and this is possibly due to these being the most common psychiatric disorders in the US population. Results highlight the importance of provider vigilance for psychiatric patients seeking elective plastic surgery.


To have successful cosmetic plastic surgery result, it is imperative to assess candidates for predictors of poor outcomes. These include the following: psychiatric disorder, demographic factors (male and younger age), relationship issues, unrealistic expectations, previous dissatisfied surgery, and minimal deformity.[1] For psychiatric patients, despite having technically satisfactory cosmetic surgery, poor emotional adjustment and social functioning were seen post procedure. These symptoms included poor self-image, relationships, and general quality of life.[1] There are a few studies that looked at the relationship between psychiatric disorders and cosmetic plastic surgery patients. The most recent 1960 US study demonstrated that 72.4% of 98 cosmetic plastic surgery patients had an underlying psychiatric disorder.[2] However, Hasan[3] in 2000 commented that the correlation between the two is not as well established.

The aim of this study was to assess the current prevalence of psychiatric disorders among elective plastic surgery patients, which includes cosmetic and noncosmetic plastic surgery. We predict that the prevalence of psychiatric disorders will be significantly greater among patients seeking elective plastic surgery than in the general US population. This study gives an updated view of the 1960 literature in the United States by having a larger sample size, inclusion of noncosmetic plastic surgery patients, and comparison of results with national data. We also compare the characteristics of patients with and without psychiatric disorder seeking elective plastic surgery.