AFFECT: Assessing the burden of facial scarring and associated mental health conditions to identify patients at greatest risk.

The face is essential for social interaction and is considered the most important physical feature in formulating our perception of identity. In a society which is pre-occupied with appearance and the pursuit of a “perfect” body image, the consequences of facial scarring can be extensive and may include the onset of psychosocial disorders. It is therefore important that we establish the prevalence of facial scarring and its consequences – including psychosocial impacts – both on a societal and individual patient level, so that effective healthcare strategies can be developed and appropriately targeted.

To do this we will analyse data that is recorded routinely on all patients when they attend hospital or their general practitioner. The data is held securely in a specialised database, and fully anonymised so that it can be used safely for research. Analysing this data will help us define exactly how many people sustain facial scarring in Wales, where we currently have very comprehensive patient data available for research, and determine how many go on to develop anxiety or depression.