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May 1979

Body Image and the Process of Reconstructive Surgery

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry (Drs Belfer and Harrison) and the Division of Plastic Surgery (Dr Murray), The Children's Hospital Medical Center; the Department of Medicine (Psychiatry) (Dr Belfer) and the Division of Plastic Surgery (Dr Murray), Peter Bent Brigham Hospital; and Harvard Medical School (Drs Belfer, Harrison, and Murray), Boston.

Am J Dis Child. 1979;133(5):532-535. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1979.02130050076016

• Newer craniofacial operative techniques produce rapid changes in objective appearance and permit the study of body-image change. In 21 patients with either Crouzon's disease or Alpert's syndrome, a four-factor model of body-image development was applied that emphasizes cognitive growth, perception of body stimuli, stimuli from the environment in the form of comparison, and the response from others. Before a child is of school age, he has substantially defined his body image, therefore corrective surgery must be considered earlier. Although surgical intervention may produce significant objective physical change, there is not a correspondingly rapid change in body image. Four phases in the modification of body image are (1) the decision to undergo surgery, (2) the operative experience, (3) the immediate postoperative period, and (4) the reintegration stage. Recognition of this phasic process will help integrate care of these patients.

(Am J Dis Child 133:532-535, 1979)

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