Body Image: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice

By Thomas F. Cash; Thomas Pruzinsky | Go to book overview

50
Body Image Adaptation
to Reconstructive Surgery
for Acquired Disfigurement

THOMAS PRUZINSKY

This chapter focuses on how individuals respond to reconstructive surgery after having acquired a disfigurement. The physical and psychosocial variables influencing individual adaptation to surgical reconstruction are numerous and complexly interrelated. This brief chapter describes those factors particularly relevant to the process of adapting to reconstructive sur­l gery at five specific time periods: predisfigurement, acquiring disfigurement, initial surgical reconstruction, subsequent reconstructive surgeries, and final surgical outcome. The clinical and empirical literature on patients' response to reconstructive surgery for facial trauma and breast disfigurement is used to exemplify this adaptation process.


PREDISFIGUREMENT BODY IMAGE
AND PSYCHOSOCIAL FUNCTIONING

Body image adaptation to reconstructive surgery must be understood in terms of the individual's predisfigurement body image and psychosocial functioning. Body image formation is, of course, subject to many influences, including the objective appearance of the individual (including the face and/or breasts). Particularly relevant variables include the individual's degree of appearance investment, appearance evaluation, overall psychological functioning, social skills, sexual functioning, and social support. (See

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