Facial disfigurement

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7100.120 (Published 12 July 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:120

Both counselling for patients and education for the public are necessary

  1. James Partridge, Executive directora
  1. a Changing Faces, London W2 1PN
  2. b King's College School of Medicine and Dentistry, London SE5 9PJ

    Editor—D A McGrouther is right: whether from birth, accident, or medical condition, facial disfigurement is packed with negative connotations.1 Research suggests that public inexperience when meeting someone who looks different accounts for the staring and turning away2; but stigmatisation is still too common and lies behind the name calling and employment problems—advertising, films, and media are usually the culprits and need to be continually challenged. More positively, at Changing Faces we know of many employers, school teachers, and people in the media who admit their assumptions and lack of knowledge and are running projects to raise awareness, but there is a long way to go.

    McGrouther is also right that general practitioners need to take seriously the impact of stigmatisation of appearance, especially as research suggests that adapting psychologically to a major facial disfigurement can be more straightforward than adapting to quite minor facial marks.3 …

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