Should Plastic Surgery Be Rated “R”?

We place age restrictions on the ability to view violent or sexual content in movies and on internet sites.  We have made it illegal for those under 18 to drink alcoholic beverages and we would certainly never ask them to serve in the military, we even limit how many hours they can work at summer jobs.  So what do we say when they seek out Plastic Surgery?  Should it also matter why they are seeking out the surgery?

Recently the issue came to the forefront of social and policy discussions within the context of another popular ‘topic du jour’ — bullying behavior amongst children.  Numerous parents are seeking Plastic Surgery to “fix” what other children have decided is “wrong” with the way their children look.

The Today Show recently profiled a charity organization, “Little Baby Face”, that grants free surgeries for low income children who have been chastised by peers for not conforming to cultural ideals of beauty.  They do however make a distinction, the child’s problem must meet the medical definition of a Facial Deformity vs. an Aesthetic Concern.

Dr. Slupchynskyj explains the basic difference. “Facial Disfigurement is something a child can be born with that could include Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate, Facial Tumors or malformed facial bones for instance.  An example of an Aesthetic Concern would include ears that may stick out more than one wants, but the ears function perfectly well.  I have had many young patients who have been taunted for this very reason.”

If the issue is teasing for what some define as a “not pleasing” look, how can we limit those who can access a low cost service based upon a medical definition, when the consequences are determined by non-scientific, social standards?

Teens seeking surgeries that are purely based in aesthetic concerns has recently caught a buzz in international news.  With some of the highest rates of plastic surgery in the world, teens in Asian countries like Korea and Japan, who cannot afford or do not want to risk invasive surgeries are using DIY alternatives akin to ancient foot binding for your face.  From a vibrating mouthpiece, that is to be worn several minutes a day to have a slimming effect on the jaw line to eyeglasses that supposedly train the eyelid to develop double folds, its turning into a circus in Asian high schools, literally.

Much of the Asian Plastic Surgery craze has to do with workplace competitiveness and standards that are highly judgemental of a person’s physical appearance and a desire to look more Caucasian that seems to have affected a lot of the region’s women.  Dr. Slupchynskyj who has always addressed a diverse range of patients understands cultural concerns as they relate to Cosmetic Surgery.

As an expert in Ethnic Facial Plastic Surgery, Dr. Slupchynskyj has a number of Patient Educational Videos available for those who have questions about ethnic beauty and aesthetic surgery.  Not every Plastic Surgeon can address questions in this area because it requires specialized training and experience

While on the topic of young people and plastic surgery of course we will have to briefly address Hollywood and “double-of course” this segment will include a mention of  the Kardashians.  Recent rumors speculate that Kris Jenner suggested Khloe Kardashian have Rhinoplasty as early as 9 years old.  Entertainment reporters have been loving to speculate as to the emotional effects of such a comment from a mother to her daughter at a young age.  It may be best left for families and their members who have been affected to determine for themselves.  However, it is a popular and controversial debate.  How young is too young to talk about or consider Plastic Surgery?