Should Teenagers Have Plastic Surgery?

July 30, 2013 - by

The teen years are an awkward time for many as bodies change and appearance becomes the subject of much judgment and discussion by peers. During this time, quite a few teenagers begin to consider plastic surgery as an option for enhancing their appearance.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), more than 130,000 teens in the U.S. had plastic surgery procedures in 2012. While some consider plastic surgery for teens controversial, a recent ASAPS news release indicated that teens most frequently undergo cosmetic surgery to correct anatomical anomalies rather than to achieve a perfect look, and that those kinds of surgeries can greatly increase self-esteem in teens.

Here are examples of the types of surgeries that help teens with self-confidence issues:

  • Gynecomastia. One of the most common plastic surgery procedures for teens treats gynecomastia, an enlargement of the male breast. For teenage boys, having larger-than-normal breasts can be devastating to self-esteem. Gynecomastia surgery, which reduces the size of the breasts, can restore a young man’s confidence, allowing him to participate in sports that he might be reluctant to join in because of the appearance of his chest.
  • Rhinoplasty. Another common procedure for teenagers having plastic surgery is rhinoplasty, which reshapes the nose. Because it is such a prominent facial feature, a teen may believe that his or her appearance is defined by a large nose or one that is marked by characteristic such as a hump. Undergoing plastic surgery can increase self-esteem for a teen who feels deeply troubled by the appearance of his or her nose.
  • Otoplasty. Ears that stick out are another source of embarrassment for teens. Otoplasty or “ear pinning” is among the most popular cosmetic procedures for teens. During this procedure, the outer structure of the ears is reworked to bring them closer to the head. Without the distraction of prominent ears, the natural appeal of the patient’s other facial features can shine through.

For teens considering any of these procedures, parental support is key. Not every teen is a candidate for the procedure he or she desires. For those who undergo careful screening and are approved for the procedure, the surgery should be seen not as evidence that a teen is imperfect, but rather as a way to achieve peace of mind and eliminate a source of stress. Surgeons can help a teen patient with adjusting to their new appearance post-procedure and offer guidance on how to respond to questions about it.

While teens having plastic surgery is sometimes portrayed in the media as a trend toward superficiality and lack of self-acceptance, the reality is quite different. Most teens undergo cosmetic procedures to address issues that deeply affect their self-confidence. With the help of a plastic surgeon, these issues can be resolved so that teens can focus their energy on studying, pursuing hobbies and pastimes, and enjoying time with friends and family. For more information on cosmetic procedures for teens, see Dr. Zevon for a consultation to determine whether plastic surgery is a viable option for your teenager.

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