Graduation Surgery: Your Baby Wants a New Nose for Graduation and Here’s Why
Chako S. on 23 Jun 2014 at 8:30am
Written by: Varci Vartanian
The average American Facebook feed this time of year is littered with ecstatic June graduates, proud mamas, and beaming papas.
It’s also common to see these same grinning graduates lining up for summer surgeries like rhinoplasty and breast augmentation— and asking their parents to pay for it, says Beverly Hills-based plastic surgeon Dr. Ashkan Ghavami.
“This season is probably the most I’ve ever seen — more teenagers are asking their parents for surgery. I’ve already started booking into November. Everyone wants to go back to school and show off,” Ghavami explains.
The Effect of Social Media’s “Selfie-Dom”
Some might instantly link teen plastic surgery to social media — and indeed, there’s a sliver of truth to this. A recent poll from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) reports that one in three plastic surgeons have witnessed an increase in procedure requests due to “patients being more self aware of their looks on social media.” Rhinoplasty in particular has had a 10 percent increase from 2012 to 2013.
“Social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and the iPhone app Selfie.im, which are solely image-based, force patients to hold a microscope up to their own image and often look at it with a more self-critical eye than ever before,” says Dr. Edward Farrior, President of AAFPRS. “These images are often the first impressions young people put out there to prospective friends, romantic interests, and employers — and our patients want to put their best face forward.”
MORE: Rhinoplasty Mistakes to Avoid
What About School Bullying?
Others would point to the impact of schoolyard bullying as a driver for these summertime surgeries. In fact, surgeons surveyed in the AAFPRS poll reported that 69 percent of children and teens are undergoing plastic surgery as a result of being bullied. However, New Jersey-based plastic surgeon Dr. Eric Joseph says that he rarely sees a patient who says that’s the single motivating factor.
“Usually it comes down to long-term [personal] dissatisfaction with their nose. And if [bullying] were the number one motivating factor, I would feel skittish about operating,” he reveals. “You want to do rhinoplasty surgery for someone who has dissatisfaction with his or her own appearance, not because of what someone else may think.” (And this includes the parents!)
Some Teens Spend Years Considering Cosmetic Surgery
Dr. Joseph says that many graduating teens have thoughtful, not-at-all impulsive reasoning for requesting (an all-expenses paid) summer surgery, especially when it comes to rhinoplasty. “I don’t think anybody ‘grows’ into their nose — it’s a misnomer. If there is going to be facial-nasal disproportion (where the nose is too big for the face), it tends to declare itself in middle school. A nose reaches its full size in puberty,” he explains.
In fact, Dr. Joseph says the perfect candidate for rhinoplasty surgery (i.e., someone who is likely to be satisfied post-op) is a person who has “chronic” long-term dissatisfaction with their nose, usually since 6th, 7th, or 8th grade.
MORE: What Is the First Step When Considering Cosmetic Treatments?
Commonly, this group is made up of young women between the ages of 17 and 30 who have been unhappy for some time with a wide or long nose, droopy nasal tip, or large dorsal hump (or bump).
“A tall man can carry a larger nose better than a woman of the same age simply because the woman is shorter. A larger nose can be tolerated on a larger face and not be as distracting. [...] I would say that young men who are getting rhinoplasty are probably of shorter stature,or have more pronounced pathology,” says Dr. Joseph.
Are Graduation Surgeries More Practical Than You Think?
Dr. Ghavami says another major impetus for teenage graduation surgery is the practical desire to use the time as a transitional space.
“People want to start college with a fresh start in a place where people may not know them or what they used to look like,” he explains. “Maybe they have the summer or a few weeks off that they can use as a stepping stone to work out or improve themselves. As far as graduation surgeries go, I would say it’s about 60 to 70 percent rhinoplasty and the rest is breast augmentation.”
The fact that most 18-year-olds don’t have $7,000 (the RealSelf average cost for rhinoplasty in the US) lying around — and that their empty-nesting parents might offer to dote on them post-op — may also add to the practical allure of plastic surgery as a gift.
Chanel, 24, from Washington D.C., tells RealSelf about the summer rhinoplasty she had at the age of 18. “When I was thinking of getting surgery, I thought, ‘I’m never going to have this opportunity where I’m not paying for it, I have someone to take care of me, and I have this random break where I can take two weeks and do nothing. Why not?’ It’s cheaper in the long run because I don’t have to spend a lot of money [or time] on makeup. [...] I don’t regret my surgery and it’s definitely helped my confidence,” she says.
What do you think of the trend of giving plastic surgery for graduation? Would you ever buy your child a procedure? Sound off in the comments below!
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Photo credits: emery011 on Instagram, jessapana on Instagram, cheybabyhey on Instagram