Full body photography in the massive weight loss population: an inquiry to optimize patient-centered care

Ann Plast Surg. 2013 Nov;71(5):550-3. doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e31824f2227.


Medical photography of body contouring patients often requires complete nudity, placing patients in a vulnerable situation. We investigated patient perspectives on full body photography in an effort to better protect the patients and enhance comfort with the photography process. Sixty-five massive weight loss patients were identified who underwent body contouring surgery with full body photography. Photographs were taken at the time of initial consult, time of marking, and postoperatively. A retrospective chart review was performed to assess body mass indices and comorbidities, and a telephone survey inquired about several aspects of the photographic process. Fifty-six (86%) patients participated. Patients were more comfortable at the time of markings (P = 0.0004) and at the postoperative session (P = 0.0009). Patients' perception of positive body image increased after body contouring surgery (P < 0.0001). Patients who reported being comfortable at their initial session had a higher body mass index (P = 0.0027). Professionalism of the staff was rated as the most important aspect of the photographic process. Patients preferring a chaperone of the same sex tended to be less comfortable with the process (P = 0.015). Most patients preferred the surgeon as the photographer (P = 0.03). Patient comfort with full body photography improves quickly as they move through the surgical process. Maintaining professionalism is the most important factor in achieving patient trust and comfort. Limiting the number of observers in the room, providing explicit details of the photography process, and having at least 1 person of the same sex in the room can optimize patient safety and comfort.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Image / psychology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid / psychology*
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery
  • Patient Preference / psychology*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Patient-Centered Care / methods*
  • Photography*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Retrospective Studies