In recent years, plastic surgeons around the world have noted an increase in the number of children and teens seeking their services. Dr. Renee Burke, a plastic surgeon in Barrington, IL has witnessed this herself. It is estimated that 2-3% of plastic surgery patients are under the age of 18. This has sparked a debate over whether minors should be able to undergo cosmetic procedures. Although some would argue that teenagers are too young to make this important decision, it must be noted that plastic surgery does not just serve a cosmetic role. Often, these procedures serve important medical or psychological purposes, giving strong rationale for teenagers opting for plastic surgery.
Dateline NBC recently did a story about high school students who were looking to undergo teen plastic surgery to improve their self-esteem and overall school life.
Fixing Self-Esteem Issues
Many adolescents asking for plastic surgery have been teased mercilessly over the appearance of a particular body part. Teenagers who are bullied or picked on because of how they look often become withdrawn or depressed. Some begin skipping class, falling behind in school because they don’t want to face the bullying.
Cosmetic surgery gives teens a second chance at fitting in. Although plastic surgery for teens may sound extreme, a surgical fix enables them to truly enjoy their lives again. Body image and self-confidence are particularly difficult issues during the teenage years. Teasing can have a lifelong impact on a teenager’s self-esteem; surgery provides an opportunity to stop or even prevent these taunts.
Many adults are haunted by the taunts and teasing they experienced as a child, often over their appearance. What if you could avoid the hit to your self-esteem by undergoing cosmetic surgery while still young? You can never get back the teenage years, so why delay surgery until adulthood? Many adults unhappy with their looks turn to plastic surgery to improve their lives. Teenagers should have the same opportunity to improve their self-image through cosmetic surgery.
In particular, teenagers opt to undergo cosmetic treatments aimed at reshaping a specific part of the body they feel is unattractive. Common surgical procedures for children and teens include ear reshaping and nose reshaping (rhinoplasty) surgeries. Severe acne scarring and overly large breasts are other body areas that may cause a teenager to seek a surgical fix. While these may be considered “cosmetic” procedures, often they serve a medical purpose as well. For example, rhinoplasty surgery may correct breathing issues as well as cosmetic deformities.
There a few organizations that specialize in teen and child plastic surgery. One in particular is the Little Baby Face Foundation. They specialize in education and family support in conjunction with world class plastic surgery.
In many cases, the surgical fix is relatively simple and low-risk, and can dramatically impact teenagers’ self-esteem. As such, these procedures provide a crucial psychological benefit. In general, surgical procedures carry a similar same risk level for teens as they do for adults, providing no medical reason to delay the procedure. Many surgical procedures sought by teens, such as correction for ears that stick out too far, are considered to be fairly low-risk surgeries that can be performed safely on children and teenagers.
Many cosmetic surgeons understand that children with facial deformities – no matter how severe – can benefit from surgery. They strongly believe that this restorative treatment can be truly life-changing, enhancing not only a child’s appearance, but also their self-esteem. By considering the psychological aspect of cosmetic surgery, it becomes clear that such procedures should not be limited to adults only.