Plastic surgery among teens is on the rise according to the latest statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. But is this a good thing or a bad thing? According to Dr. Kevin Smith of Charlotte, NC, it really depends on the type of cosmetic surgery. Is it reconstructive or aesthetic? “Certainly, teens who have a nasal deformity or ear deformity or embarrassing deformity warrant plastic surgery early.” However, with something aesthetic such as a breast augmentation, it’s probably best to wait until the patient is more mature. “We have to approach these kids with great trepidation and be careful about what we offer and what we do.”
by Katherine Stuart
and The Plastic Surgery Channel
Celebrities Driving The Uptick
Dr. Camille Cash of Houston, Texas agrees. “I think it’s very alarming that young girls are seeing false images in the media and are having unrealistic expectations about what their bodies should look like.” She believes that celebrities such as Kylie Jenner are driving this uptick in demand for aesthetic procedures. They see her “lip challenge” and don’t realize how dishonest it is. Or that the photos in the magazines have all been air brushed. Since teenagers, both boys and girls, are particularly susceptible to these outside influences from the media, it’s creating a dangerous environment of body insecurity.
Parents need to be very careful about how they handle their teenagers who want plastic surgery and realize that just by agreeing to bring the child in for a consultation, they are reinforcing that child’s negative self image. In short, they are telling their child that he or she is not good enough as is. It is a slippery slope. Smith believes that it’s important for the parents to help convince the child to put off surgery until a later date when he or she is more mature and better equipped to handle the emotional fall out.
But Teen Plastic Surgery Can Help
However, there are instances where plastic surgery for teens can be life altering. Cash will treat a young girl who is suffering from neck, back and shoulder pain and garnering unwanted attention due to her large breasts with a breast reduction. But she won’t give a teenager implants. At least not without sending her and her family through counseling first. Smith has done cosmetic breast surgery on girls with extreme asymmetry such as Poland’s Syndrome or boys with gynecomastia. “These poor kids are t-shirt cripples.”
Treating these conditions early allows these teens to avoid a lot of unnecessary angst. “Kids want to feel normal,” says Smith. “If they don’t feel normal and there’s something we can do to help that then it’s not inappropriate to consider.”