Teen Plastic Surgery Increasing
Plastic Surgery is on the Rise for Teens
Many teens will return to school after their summer break looking a little different. More than 224,000 teens will have plastic surgery in 2016. Teen plastic surgery is increasing steadily. Why is this?
What Role Does Social Media Play?
Today’s society is much more aware of plastic surgery and the options it provides, but some say the rise in plastic surgery for teens results from social media and reality TV shows. Teens spend on average 9 hours a day on media.
Teens live in the age of the selfie, Snapchat and Instagram. The steady stream of images emphasizes appearance and often affects a teen’s self-esteem. Many media images are edited, filtered and photo-shopped. A barrage of seemingly “perfect” pictures only adds to a teen’s distorted expectation of what is “normal” or desirable. Connectivity and hyper-exposure through social media increases our society’s fixation on image and body consciousness.
Being a teen is tough.
Teen years bring body changes and the ups and downs of emotional development. Hormones are raging right at the time social status becomes increasingly important. Insecurities easily develop and unfriendly peers are especially harsh during these years. Critical comments are taken to heart, and often take on a distorted importance in the mind of a teen.
Why Teens Seek Plastic Surgery
There are many reasons teens want plastic surgery and non-surgical procedures to enhance, correct or alter their appearance, but primarily, they are seeking to improve their appearance and self-esteem, just the same as adults that seek facial plastic surgery.
Most Common Facial Plastic Surgery Procedures for Teens:
(1) Rhinoplasty (nose re-shaping)
This is the most common cosmetic procedure for teens. Many teens are self-conscious about the size and shape of their nose.
Nose shape can be developmental, genetic, or due to trauma. In addition to the outward appearance, there may be internal deformities causing breathing issues or sinus problems. The nose is not fully developed until age 16-17, which is the soonest one should consider having this procedure done.
(2) Otoplasty (ear pinback)
If the natural folds of the ear do not develop fully, they can protrude abnormally making them more conspicuous.
When these children enter the school system, they can be subject to ridicule which can cause distress and psychological damage. Although the ear is not fully developed until seven years of age, it is best to consider this procedure for your child when they are 5-6 years old to avoid these concerns.
(3) Laser skin resurfacing or dermabrasion
During the teen years this is often used to treat scarring developed from acne. Collagen injections are useful to repair acne scarring as well. Dermatologic treatment to help control the acne is the best treatment.
Important Considerations When Thinking About Plastic Surgery for a Teen
There are important considerations for a teen considering surgery from both the patient’s and the parent’s perspectives.
(1) Am I doing this to fit in or meet other’s expectations, or am I doing this truly for myself?
(2) A teen considering elective surgery must have emotional maturity and family support. It is important they understand that with any surgery there is risk.
(3) It is also important that they completely understand not only the risks involved in surgery, but also the limitations of plastic surgery.
The American Society of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASFPRS) Offers Guidelines for Teens Considering Plastic Surgery:
• The teen must initiate the request and have realistic goals and expectations.
• The plastic surgeon should be experienced and board-certified in a specialty recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, including the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
• The surgery should be done in an accredited surgical facility with the ability to handle rare complications.
• The surgery must be done under a policy of full, informed consent. This means the details of the procedure are understood and agreed to by the patient and the patient’s parent or guardian.
Parents, get expert advice from a facial plastic surgeon with expertise in these surgeries on teens. And, teen and parents should thoughtfully and openly discuss the options, reasons, risks, and realistic outcomes when considering plastic surgery.