Vulnerable patient seeking cosmetic procedure

June 2016

What would you do if you were faced with this scenario?

cosmetic procedureEllen gave birth to her second child six months ago. She has an appointment with you to discuss having an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). She tells you that she lost weight easily following the birth of her first child but has not returned to her previous size and shape, and has excess skin and pockets of fat. She also mentions that the way she looks is affecting her confidence, and that she’s been feeling very low and reluctant to leave the house. She thinks that getting her body back into the shape it was before will help get her back on track and make her feel better about her herself.

You think that Ellen may have an underlying psychological condition such as post-natal depression which could be affecting her judgement. You advise Ellen that before you can go any further you would like to refer her to a psychologist for assessment, and that you would also like to speak to her GP.

Ellen doesn’t want you to speak to her GP and doesn’t think that she needs to see a psychologist, as she says, lots of people have this this done all the time.
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You can get advice on dealing with this kind of case in our recently published guidance to help doctors who carry out cosmetic interventions.

Footnote

*This is fictitious case to illustrate some of themes related to cosmetic practice which have been brought to our attention in recent months.

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