Teenagers and Cosmetic Surgery

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Teenagers and Cosmetic Surgery


February 13, 2011

Teenagers and Cosmetic Surgery

With the number of teenagers choosing to have cosmetic surgery increasing, teenagers are not always emotionally mature enough to make an educated decision about the surgery. They do not always understand the limitations of cosmetic surgery, nor do they consider the complications after the surgery or the long term effects.

In 2009 there were nearly 210,000 cosmetic surgery procedures performed on teenagers between the ages of 13-19 [1]. Teens often gain self-esteem and self confidence when their physical problems are corrected. According the the American Society of Plastic Surgeons successful cosmetic surgery may reverse the social withdrawl that often accompanies teens who feel different. Teens tend to have cosmetic surgery to fit in with peers, to look similar. Common physical characteristics or concerns a teen may wish to correct include a misshappen nose, protruding ears, overly large breasts, asymetrical breasts and severe acne and scarring.

No one can argue that reconstructive surgeries such as correcting a cleft lip and pallet are beneficial to children and youth. As are cosmetic surgeries to correct unattractive facial features that may cause the child ridicule from other children. One concern about cosmetic surgery on teens is that their bodies are still maturing. Teenagers are often oblivious to the well-documented long-term health consiquences of smoking, tanning, and other risky behaviors, and are less likely to pay attention to the risks of cosmetic surgery, making informed consent difficult.

The FDA approved saline breast implants for woman over the age of 18 [3], it is legal for physicians to perform breast augmentation on patients under the age of 18 as an off-label use. With the substantial cost of cosmetic surgery many surgeons now offer now offer installment plans. The National Research Center for Woman and Families are...
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