According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of teenagers aged 13 – 19 opting to have plastic surgery has increased dramatically over the last decade. In 1996, there were about 14,000 plastic surgeries performed on teenagers. By 2010, this number had increased to around 76,800. Most teenagers seeking plastic surgery desire nose or ear jobs, liposuction, and breast augmentation.
While adults may get plastic surgery to enhance a physical feature or to stand out, teenagers turn to plastic surgery for different reasons. Often, it is the result of poor self-image, low self-esteem, and feelings of inadequacy. Let's take a look at common cosmetic procedures performed on teenagers today.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, otoplasty, or ear surgery, was the most performed cosmetic surgery on teens in 2010. Correcting deformities, reducing ear size, and pinning prominent ears are typical reasons for otoplasty.
Rhinoplasty, more commonly called a nose job, is available to teens as young as 13. Sometimes it's necessary to correct a deviated septum, but often is sought out for purely cosmetic reasons to reduce or reshape the nose. This is one of the most popular procedures sought by teens.
While implants are illegal for anyone under the age of 18, teens can still opt for breast reduction or surgery to correct asymmetrical breasts. Girls aren't the only ones to request this surgery, either. Some teenage boys develop excessive breast tissue requiring surgical correction.
Liposuction is the surgical removal of fat from the body. Plastic surgeons are normally selective about candidates for this procedure. Doctors normally recommend an exercise and diet program before resorting to surgery to treat weight issues. Due to this selectivity, most plastic surgeons won't perform liposuction on a teenager. This is one of the least performed cosmetic surgeries on teens.
For more information read "Plastic Surgery for Teenagers Briefing Paper."
Responding to a Teen Who Wants Plastic Surgery
As discussed in the article “Cosmetic Surgery and Your Teen,” the immediate reaction of many parents is, “No” when they are asked if plastic surgery can be considered for their teens. This isn't always the best approach. Remember, many teens want plastic surgery to deal with low self-esteem. This is why an open dialogue is necessary. However, parents should not rush into a conversation with their teenager without some preparation.
Initially, parents should educate themselves about the surgery their child wants. Knowledge about how the surgery is performed, possible outcomes, and realistic expectations is crucial to a productive discussion and will help parents and their child come to a reasonable decision.
When it's time to talk with a teenager about plastic surgery, keep an open mind. A teen's desire for surgery might be as simple as wanting to fix a deviated septum, or it may be more complex involving body image issues. Parents need to inform their child of all aspects of the surgery and decide if their teen is mature enough to fully understand what he or she wants. Many surgeons require counseling before performing a cosmetic procedure on a teen; this may be a good starting point for parents.
Electing for plastic surgery is a big decision. Many teens are not mature enough to fully understand what he or she is asking for. It is a decision that should only be made after research, open discussion, and possibly counseling. While plastic surgery may boost the self-esteem of some teens, it is not a guaranteed solution.
Now, are you ready when you're teen ask for a surgical enhancement?
Lisa Moore is a senior writer of Interactive Service Group. Her articles have appeared in Nooz Hawk, Herald Extra-Mom Click, Shannon Miller Lifestyle, Parent24 and elsewhere.