Teens and Plastic Surgery

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Should teens get plastic surgery? Unlike adults who undergo plastic surgery to turn back the clock, some teenagers crave plastic surgery just to fit in. Many reports suggest that plastic surgery is now topping teen wish lists. This raises the question of whether teens are mature enough to be making a decision that poses risks and that will permanently change their appearance.

The definition of plastic surgery is surgery to remodel, repair, or restore body parts, especially by the transfer of tissue (“Cosmetic surgery,” 2007). The most common surgical procedures performed on teens eighteen years and younger are otoplasty (ear surgery), rhinoplasty, breast reduction, and gynecomastia. Otoplasty was the most popular surgical procedures in 2010 (ASAPS, 2012, para. 4). Ear surgery is usually recommended for children age five or six, but can be done as young as four years old. Correcting the ears prior to the child beginning school helps eliminate psychological trauma from teasing. Rhinoplasty is a nose reshaping procedure. The procedure can be done when the nose has completed ninety percent of its growth, which occurs as early as age thirteen to fourteen in girls and fifteen to sixteen in boys (ASAPS, 2012, para. 5).

Breast reduction is performed on females with overly large breasts that may cause back and shoulder pain. It can also restrict physical activity. Gynecomastia is excessive breast development in boys. Excess tissue is removed from the breast to make for a more masculine body. This condition may disappear at the end of puberty. Surgery usually becomes an option if gynecomastia has been present for more than two years or if the problem is severe. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) it can become a big psychological problem for teenage boys.

According to the Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery, there are plastic surgery procedures that teens should avoid. Teens should avoid breast enhancements, liposuction, cheek implants and botox. When it comes to breast enhancements, only saline-filled breast implants are used in teens. By law, in the United States a teen has to be at least eighteen years old to get breast implants, and this is because the breast may still be developing. There are some exceptions to this rule; such as if a teen is born with a congenital defect, there is trauma, or a disease that may require breast reconstruction. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved silicone-filled breast implants only for women twenty-two years or older, but it can be used for breast reconstruction in women of all ages” (Mann, 2012, para. 9).

Liposuction is not recommended for teens. Some teens may lose baby fat as they mature. Spot reduction is a liposuction procedure that is commonly used in teens. It removes fat pockets from specific areas of the body. This is an option when a teen has tried diet and exercise without success. “Liposuction should never be used to treat obesity in teens, or be considered a substitute for diet and exercise (Mann, 2012, para. 10).

Cheek implants may not work well to make a teen’s appearance better because facial features can still be developing. Botox is only approved for people at least eighteen years old, yet a mom on a reality show “Toddler’s and Tiara’s” that recently made headlines, takes her eight year old daughter who is in beauty pageants for regular botox injections and takes her waxing as well.

There are several things that the parents, teens, and even the doctors need to consider before deciding on plastic surgery. The first thing that all parties should consider is who desires the plastic surgery. It should be one hundred percent the teen’s choice. It should not be parents, friends, or boyfriends and girlfriends. “Teens who are encouraged to have surgeries by families and friends when they are not interested are poor candidates for plastic surgery,” says Malcolm D. Paul, MD, president-elect of the American Society for Aesthetic...
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