Is Teenage Cosmetic Surgery Increasing?

Depending on the sources you read, there are conflicting statements about whether or not teenage Cosmetic Surgery is on the rise. While headlines on major news sources say it is, the American Society for Aesthetic Surgery states that teenage Plastic Surgery procedures are actually on the decline, and their statistics are backed by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons as well. There are really two issues that are pressing when it comes to teenagers and Cosmetic Surgery:

•   Are surgeons performing these procedures unethically? Upstanding Plastic Surgeons will not perform a Plastic Surgery procedure, such as Rhinoplasty, that will affect a physical feature that hasn’t fully matured. Nor will they perform a procedure if their patient has unrealistic expectations regarding the outcome.

•   Are the patients fully aware of the risks? This can be difficult to assess with teenagers as their perspective is so limited, and they are unaware how much they will mature and change after high school and beyond. It is imperative that a Plastic Surgeon is very careful, open, and honest, when speaking with teenagers about Plastic Surgery and its long-term affects.

The American Society for Aesthetic Surgery says that teenage Cosmetic Surgery is on the decline.

Here are some of the statistics, provided by the ASAPS, supporting that teenage Plastic Surgery is actually on the decline:

•   Ten Years Ago: there were 220,077 procedures in 2002

•   Five Years Ago: there were 178,041 procedures 2006

•   Last Year: there were 131,877 procedures in 2011

•   This Year: there were 130,502 procedures in 2012

Unless you have a teenager who is agonizing daily over their physical appearance, it can be difficult to understand why teenagers would want to undergo surgery in order to improve their physical features. However, the recent media attention on bullying helps to de-mystify this issue; children and young adults can be incredibly cruel, especially regarding their physical differences. The teasing and bullying that happens as a result of a big nose, ears that stick out, or abnormally large or flat breasts can be devastating for an adolescent who is coming of age.

This short video posted by ABC News follows two teenage girls who elected to use Cosmetic Surgery to enhance their physical appearances. Katelyn and Tracy are two adult teens that have opted to have Breast Augmentation and Rhinoplasty, respectively, in order to say farewell to deep-seeded physical insecurities. Both girls waited until they were adults, using their years as insecure teenagers as fuel for their Plastic Surgery inspiration. While both of these young women are very happy with the outcomes of their surgeries, there are also cases where adults regret the surgeries they had as teens.

One example is Sabrina Weiss, who underwent a Rhinoplasty procedure immediately after graduating from high school. In hindsight, Weiss realizes that she projected all of her hopes of becoming an outgoing, socially accepted young woman into her nose. She says, “Looking back, if anyone had questioned what my reasons for doing this, they would’ve seen it was irrational and a fantasy that having this surgery was going to somehow transform my entire life.” 

Here is a list of the Cosmetic Surgery procedures most commonly requested by teenagers:

•   Otoplasty. Also called Ear Surgery or ear pinning, this procedure was the most popular Plastic Surgery procedure for teens in 2012. It helps to pull back the outer portion of the ear, aligning it with the head, correcting embarrassing large earflaps that stick out.

•   Rhinoplasty. Anyone with a large or misshapen nose understands why this procedure took the Number 2 slot. Having a nose in proportion with the rest of your facial features can make a dramatic difference in your appearance.

•   Breast reduction. Contrary to what many may think, Breast Reduction is more popular than Breast Augmentation for teenage girls. Large breasts are heavy, and can cause neck and back pain. They make it difficult for female athletes to move comfortably.

Is your teenager interested in Cosmetic Surgery procedures?

If your teenager is interested in Cosmetic Surgery procedures, it is imperative that you take him or her to a reputable Cosmetic Surgeon that is willing to say, “No,” if he feels the procedure is being performed for the wrong reasons. Questions that should be asked include:

•   Whether or not the teenager is physically mature, “late bloomers” often mature years later than their peers.

•   Does the child truly understand the risks?

•   Are the child’s expectations realistic?

•   Does the child feel their life will be completely changed by the surgery?

•   Is the child aware that the surgery is a permanent procedure?

If your teenager is interested in Cosmetic Surgery, please make an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Oleh Slupchynskyj. He will be 100% honest with your teenager, and will screen him or her carefully before deciding whether or not Cosmetic Surgery is the right decision at this point in his or her life.

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