What Do Kids Think About Plastic Surgery?

K. Mathews on 25 Oct 2011 at 9:00am

Whenever we write about kids undergoing cosmetic surgery, it generates a lot of discussion amongst adults. But how do kids feel about it? That’s exactly what journalist Linda Ellerbee sought to find out when she hosted the Nick News special “Minor Adjustments: Kids and Cosmetic Surgery.”

Over the years, Ellerbee has dared to address a variety of weighty issues with kids, with subject matter ranging from global warning to HIV. With plastic surgery attracting increasingly younger patients, it makes sense to involve kids in the discussion on beauty ideals rather than pretending they aren’t subject to the same peer and media pressures that adults are.

The program profiled a handful of kids who turned to cosmetic surgery for a variety of reasons. For one girl, her motivation was aesthetic, choosing to have a nose job (as did her mother and grandmother before her) to gain confidence. Another teen boy had breast reduction surgery to counteract a hormonal imbalance that gave him an embarrassingly large chest.

12 year old gets liposuction

And then things get extra complicated with a girl who at 12 had liposuction to slim down her 225 pound body, and at 15 received breast implants to look more like Barbie.

If you’re looking for any firm conclusions, however, look elsewhere. While kids interject their opinions on plastic surgery between the segments, Ellerbee points out that “saying who’s right and who’s wrong is tricky,” instead deciding that the topic is one where there’s “more than one right answer.”

To see the show yourself, head on over to Nick.com. Or you can download a free podcast of the show on iTunes.

What's your opinion on underage plastic surgery? 

Vote in our poll about underage surgery for bullying:

Photo credit: Nick News

Comments (3)

Most surgeons are unlikely to want to perform surgery on anyone who hasn't reached their full growth potential. But certain procedures, like ear-pinning and nose jobs, CAN be done on younger patients -- and in some cases it might be appropriate.

We all know that "kids can be cruel," but in this age of technology and social networks, the cruelty can be very far-reaching and even more psychologically damaging. Having pictures "tagged" or circulated via text messaging with unkind comments can be more painful than most adults can even imagine.

YES, of COURSE it would be better if we could teach kids not to be bullies -- or to use insults to make them stronger, but that isn't realistic. I will continue to rally against cyber-bullying (or bullying of any kind), but I do understand the impact of enforcing a positive self-image.

If surgery is really the best answer to empower a young person, I guess I'd support it. Not as a blanket solution, but case by case.

~ Dr. Andy
  • Reply

"...a girl who at 12 had liposuction to slim down her 225 pound body..."

But liposuction isn't for weight loss, right? How did she find a doctor who would do the surgery?

  • Reply

That's exactly what I thought!! From what I've seen in my time investigating the world of cosmetic procedures, although most doctors recommend being fit before lipo, that doesn't mean there arent' those who will still perform it anyway. Particularly with tummy tucks, I've seen photos of women who were REALLY heavy (and not just the excess skin) that got TTs and lipo. 

I struggled with my weight throughout grade school -- spent so many nights crying over it. But I can't imagine a moment where anyone I know, especially my parents, would have condoned me getting lipo. All it took was a change in my habits (via Weight Watchers) and the weight was gone.  Exactly why lipo should be for stubborn spots only :/

That being said if you're really rich and can afford to repeatedly get lipo instead of changing your eating/exercising habits, good for you. But that seems like an awful lot of pain with all the recovery! 

  • Reply