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.
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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 Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and a plastic surgeon (WebMD, 2004, p. 2 para. 2). Parents need to consider if their child is serious about the surgery. If they are inconsistent and change from wanting their ears done one day and their nose done the next, they are not a good candidate for plastic surgery.
Parents also have to make sure that the teen has realist expectations. Some teens may think a new nose or bigger breasts will change their life. They may think it will make them more popular or open the door to more social outlets. “While the correct procedure in the correct teen may bring about positive changes in self-esteem, teen plastic surgery does not guarantee a fairy tale ending” (Mann, 2012, para 8). Doctors usually do a more extensive evaluation on teens wanting plastic surgery than they would a mature adult coming in for the same procedure.
Most board-certified plastic surgeons will spend a lot of time interviewing teens to make sure they are mature enough to handle surgery. Plastic surgeons will rule out teens who have psychological problems, such as a teen with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). People with this disorder believe they are unusually ugly. BDD should not be treated by having plastic surgery. It needs to be treated by a mental health professional. “The ASPS does not recommend cosmetic surgery for teens that are prone to mood swings or erratic behavior, who abuse drugs and/or alcohol, or who are being treated for a mental illness” (Markowitz, 2010, para. ). There are some unconscionable plastic surgeons who may capitalize on a teenager who is obsessed with their appearance. They may also capitalize on those whose parents are set on having “the perfect child. ” There are plenty of statistics out on the subject of teens and plastic surgery. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) there were nearly 219,000 cosmetic procedures performed on people age thirteen to nineteen years of age in 2010. In 2010, there were 4,153 breast augmentation procedures on women eighteen and under, which accounts for 1. percent of the total number of breast augmentation procedures in the United States (ASAPS, 2012, para. 5). According to Diana Zuckerman, Ph. D. research indicates that breast augmentation patients are four times more likely to commit suicide than other plastic surgery patients (Markowitz, 2012, para. 5). This raises questions about the mental health of women who want implants. There are no laws in the United States governing the minimum age for cosmetic procedures. The only real law pertaining to teens and plastic surgery is that the U. S.
Food and Drug Administration does not approve cosmetic saline implants for women under eighteen (Markowitz, 2012, para. 2). In the United Kingdom, a teen has to be at least sixteen years of age for any breast augmentations or related surgery. There are negative factors to consider when it comes to teens having plastic surgery. As with any surgical procedure, the cost is very expensive. Most insurances do not cover cosmetic procedures. There are plenty of risks and complications involved as well. For example, a 17 year old Florida teen died after having breast surgery.
Doctors said the cause of her death was malignant hyperthermia, which is a rare metabolic condition that can be triggered by certain anesthesia. It raises a patient’s heart rate and metabolism, causing the body temperature to rise as high as 112 degrees. Some believe she was too young to handle the anesthesia (Rose, 2008, para. 3). There are some negative psychological effects as well. Some teens are chasing a false perception, and end up not being happy with the end result. Some believe teens will become addicted to plastic surgery, and think of it as a quick fix.
There are some psychological benefits as well. Teens gain self-esteem and confidence when their physical problems are corrected. Many teens welcome the changes because it can mean being in a less bullied state, which can lead to normal life. Fixing these conditions can alleviate teasing and bullying. Another benefit to plastic surgery is that it fixes deformities and body parts, making them functional. A common deformity that plastic surgeons fix is cleft palates. A cleft palate is a certain facial deformity that prevents a child from using the mouth properly.
This can affect their ability to eat, drink, and talk. Sometimes a plastic surgeon can repair this deformity to improve the child’s appearance as well as the functionality of the affected body part. I am about 95 percent against children and teens having plastic surgery. I only agree with it if it is for the purpose of restoring the function of body parts. Teen’s bodies are not fully developed at that age, and most likely their bodies will change for the better. I also don’t believe teens are mature enough to be making a decision that poses risks and that will change their appearance forever.
References Cosmetic Surgery. (2007). Thefreedictionary. com. Retrieved from http://medical-dictionary. thefreedictionary. com/Cosmetic+Surgery Markowitz, Andrea. (2010, June 1). Too young for cosmetic surgery?. Retrieved from http://www. southflorida. com/specialsection/teenlinks/sns-health-young-cosmetic-surgery,0,7776311. story American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. (2012). Teens and plastic surgery. Retrieved from http://www. surgery. org/media/news-releases/teens-and-plastic-surgery American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (2011). Plastic surgery for teenagers briefing paper.
Retrieved from http://www. plasticsurgery. org/news-and-resources/briefing-papers/plastic-surgery-for-teenagers. html Rose. (March 28, 2008). Florida teen dies after breast surgery. Retrieved from http://www. zimbio. com/Stephanie+Kuleba/articles/4/Florida+Teen+Dies+After+Breast+Surgery WebMD. (2004). Is plastic surgery a teen thing? Retrieved from http://www. webmd. om/healthy-beauty/features/is-plastic-surgery-teen-thing Mann Denise. (2012) Teen plastic surgery: special report. Retrieved from http://www. yourplasticsurgeryguide. com/trends/teen-plastic-surgery. htm
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