Last year, 229,000 teens underwent cosmetic surgery, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), prompting ASPS to issue new guidelines for surgeons considering teenage patients. As a board-certified plastic surgeon who has practiced cosmetic medicine for more than 10 years, I am eager to share my insight regarding cosmetic surgery among teens.
Social media has undoubtedly influenced teens by exposing them to celebrities who make cosmetic treatments look as routine as haircuts. Plastic surgery requires careful and prudent consideration from both a teen and his or her parents.
If you are a teenager considering plastic surgery, here are some important questions to ask yourself before seeking treatment:
1. Why do you want surgery?
The ASPS approves certain types of plastic surgery for adolescents, including breast reductions and otoplasty to minimize the appearance of big ears. If you suffer from chronic back pain because your breasts are heavy and putting too much strain on your body, breast reduction surgery may be a reasonable option for you and your family to consider. A number of young patients achieve balance and a confidence boost after otoplasty to reduce the appearance of large or protruding ears. Plastic surgery can be an effective way to restore symmetry or comfort, but it should not be considered as a means for looking better in selfies.
2. What are your expectations?
If you are generally depressed or unhappy with your appearance and think surgery will dramatically improve your life, you may need to re-evaluate your motives. Consider speaking to a professional about your ongoing concerns to see if there may be other ways to address your feelings.
3. Are you aware that your results may change over time?
One of the drawbacks to having surgery as a teenager is that your body may still be growing. The results you achieve through surgery may change as your body changes. We will discuss this during your consultation, weighing every possible variable so you can make a well-informed decision.