In the wake of Michael Jackson's sudden death, it seems like an opportune time to think for a moment about body image. The self-styled "King of Pop" was also widely known as the "King of Plastic Surgery." Yet he was reportedly never satisfied with his appearance.
Everyone seems to agree that Michael Jackson took plastic surgery to a ridiculous extreme. Unfortunately, the singer was far from alone in undergoing several cosmetic procedures. In fact, most sources agree that about two-thirds of people who undergo one surgery return for at least one more procedure. Many of these can be classified as "plastic surgery addicts."
The situation has not gone unnoticed. Both American and British professional societies have issued warnings to plastic surgeons and patients not to go overboard. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons advises members to be on the lookout for people with "imagined ugly syndrome" and those who are vague about what aspect of their appearance bothers them and why. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons cautions people considering multiple procedures that eventually they will cease to look like themselves.
Of course, the majority of people who undergo more than one cosmetic procedure are perfectly rational patients with reasonable goals. After all, breast implants occasionally need replacing. And it's not uncommon for women to choose more than one procedure to combat the signs of aging or for a "mommy makeover." But it's the Joyce Wildensteins (Google the name if you haven't seen photos) and yes, the Michael Jacksons of the world, who demonstrate what can happen when someone becomes a "plastic surgery addict."
Speaking very generally, those who undergo several or even dozens of plastic surgeries seem to fall into two categories. The most widely recognized, and most serious, of surgery triggers is body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). First identified more than 100 years ago, BDD is a condition that causes a person to have an inaccurate view of their appearance and even a hatred for one or more body parts or areas of the body. They may seek surgery after surgery without making peace with the way they look.