Teens And Plastic Surgery
Although only 2% of plastic surgery procedures are performed on patients in their teens, the number of teens having plastic surgery has grown considerably in recent years. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) statistics estimate that 219,000 patients ages 13-19 had plastic surgery in 2008.
Throughout my career as a plastic surgeon, I have encountered a number of teenage patients who were excellent candidates for surgery and many who were not. The most common surgeries requested by teens in my practice are rhinoplasty or nose reshaping, breast augmentation, and breast reduction. Plastic surgeons individually have different criteria that must be met before operating on teens. Obviously, each patient is different, and must be evaluated separately. Generally speaking, teens who are good candidates for plastic surgery must be mature for their age, have a good understanding of the risks of plastic surgery, and must have realistic expectations of the surgical outcome. In addition, rhinoplasty patients need to have reached skeletal maturity, and breast augmentation patients must be 18 years of age prior to surgery, as mandated by the FDA.
Recently, an excellent article by Laura Coffey on this topic was posted at the Today Show website. The title of the article is “Can Plastic Surgery Be Good For Teens?“ The article comments on three different patients who underwent plastic surgery as teenagers. One patient had a rhinoplasty to correct the appearance of a disproportionately large nose. A second patient underwent a breast reduction because she had a long history of neck and back pain related to her large breasts. The third patient having been called “dumbo” because of the appearance of his ears, had an otoplasty or ear pinning procedure. Additionally, all three patients were featured in People magazine, and on the Today Show.
It’s an interesting topic, and one that I am sure will be discussed much more in the future as the nationwide acceptance of plastic surgery continues to increase.