Dr Kohout's Plastic Surgery Blog

Plastic Surgery for Teenagers

Mark Kohout - Monday, March 04, 2013
Teen surgery. More and more young girls (18/19-yr-olds) are undergoing surgery in a quest for perfection. What are your thoughts on age in relation to surgery, what advice can you give on how to know if you're ready for surgery. What sort of research or self-questioning can girls do to ensure they're making the right decision.

plastic surgery for young girlsThe increasing popularity of cosmetic surgery is reflected by increasing demand from all demographic groups.    Teenagers are  no exception:  if anything, the rise in demand here is stronger than among other groups.   The peer and societal pressure to strive for an imagined physical perfection is intense and teenagers tend to be more susceptible to pressure than older age groups.  Hence, the likelihood of acting under this pressure also increases.

There have been several well-publicised cases of teenagers seeking plastic surgery because of being bullied at school.  For instance, having large or prominent ears, may expose you to ridicule and name-calling.  This is always a difficult thing for any teenager:  parents are likely to be receptive to surgical solutions to protect their kids from taunts and bullying.

No matter what procedure is asked for, I always encourage teenagers to have their parents & support and input to ensure as much as possible that the surgery is well considered and proper consideration is given to the benefits of the surgery but also the potential risks and downsides.

Some of the procedures most commonly requested by teens are:

  • Otoplasty.  Prominent ears are perhaps the most obvious target for teenage surgical requests.  Both girls and boys are affected by bullying so  the referrals are both sexes.  The operations is generally relatively  small:  around 90 minutes and bout  a week to recover.  The results are virtually always satisfying and  end up with a happy patient:  the thing that I always note on the post-operative checks is that the hair has been cut short:  the ears no longer objects of embarrassment to be hidden away.

  • Rhinoplasty.  Having a large, bulbous or bent nose falls in a similar category to prominent ears:  it can make you a target for name calling.  Social withdrawal, loss of self-confidence can follow.  Surgery on the nose is a lot trickier than the ears as the nose keeps growing throughout the teen years and surgery can in fact disrupt the growth.  It is seldom wise to operate on a nose before the age of 18, but the interest is certainly there.

  • Liposuction.  With obesity and weight control in general being an issue from childhood to adulthood, teens are again  in the frontline  of plastic surgery.  Whilst liposuction can be performed in the teens,  weight control by diet and exercise is always preferred, though not always achievable.

  • Breast reduction.  This is another area where teenagers suffer unnecessarily due to an anatomical fluke.  Teenage girls with very large breasts are not only subject to ridicule, but also to unwanted, lewd attention.  Playing sport and other physical activity is also difficult with very large breasts so breast reduction surgery is certainly worth considering

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