According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), breast augmentation is currently one of the top plastic surgery procedures performed in the U.S., and the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure for women. Encompassing a range of specific breast enhancement procedures including breast implants, breast lifts, breast reduction and breast reconstruction, breast augmentation helps many women alter their figure for both aesthetic and medical reasons. While breast augmentation is a widely accepted choice for adult women, the increasing popularity of breast augmentation among teens has led to much speculation, criticism, and also support.
No doubt about it, the teen years are tough. In addition to oodles of pressure to choose a direction in life, there's also the complex issues of self-esteem, identity, and the need to fit in. In the past, cosmetic enhancement for teenagers was considered an atrocious concept, both inappropriate and unnecessary. But as our society has evolved to be more appearance-conscious and more pop culture-oriented, we've grown to accept cosmetic enhancement as a common undertaking for individuals of various ages and lifestyles; including teenagers.
According to a 2008 study by ASAPS, out of all age groups, young adults aged 18-24 had the highest approval rating for cosmetic surgery. Elderly men and women aged 65 and older had the lowest approval rating for cosmetic surgery. In today's environment of free thinking and high-geared liberalism, young adults are stepping up to try and take more control of their future, their personal rights, and even their bodies. Many female teens think that the decision to get breast augmentation is as much theirs as it is their mother's or their aunt's. However, the truth of the matter is, whether or not they have the right to make that decision, the rights to their breast enhancement surgery bill will likely fall to the parents.
Many reputable plastic surgeons refuse to perform breast augmentation on a patient under 18, but the statistics still indicate this is happening quite often. The ASAPS estimated that in 2007, more than 7,000 breast augmentation procedures were performed on patients aged 18 and under in the U.S. This number made breast augmentation the fourth most popular cosmetic surgery procedure for this age group, behind otoplasty (ear surgery), rhinoplasty (nose surgery) and liposuction.
With 7,000+ breast surgeries being performed on teens aged 18 and under, and breast augmentation costing an average of $3,500-4,500, it's safe to assume that the majority of these procedures weren't funded by part-time, minimum wage mall jobs. Breast augmentation surgery for teens is normally paid for by the parents or guardians.
Aside from the cost to their wallets, parents should carefully evaluate teen breast surgery to factor in possible costs to their daughter's safety and personal well-being. Many parents have followed the growing trend of buying breast augmentation surgery or a nose job as popular high school graduation presents, but some parents and teens were disappointed with the results as a consequence of being unprepared or misinformed.
First of all, teen girls are very susceptible to low self-esteem and distorted body images. Because of this trend, it's important to assess whether a young woman is psychologically healthy, has mature motivations for breast surgery, and is fully aware of the risks and consequences she is facing with breast augmentation. Usually, a qualified plastic surgeon will discuss the procedure and its ramifications in depth with a teen prior to surgery, to determine if the patient is an appropriate candidate for breast augmentation. As a parent, you have even more of a responsibility to acknowledge whether or not your daughter has appropriate expectations and motivations concerning cosmetic surgery.
Another thing to consider is whether or not a female teen is physically mature enough for breast augmentation. Inserting breast implants into a young woman could be harmful and unnecessary if she's still developing, and could even compromise the surgery completely. Since some women continue to develop into their early 20s, it might not hurt to wait a couple more years, even if a teen is sure she wants implants now.
Breast implants are also not usually considered permanent, and it's likely that a young woman with breast implants will need one or more corrective surgeries throughout her lifetime to maintain the desired shape and look. This is especially true the younger a breast augmentation patient is, since their body has a lot of growth and changes still to come. Possible complications and breast augmentation side effects include scarring, wrinkling, asymmetry, dimpling and capsular contracture.
The choice to support or disdain teen breast augmentation is completely up to you, as is your opinion on the subject. But if you're a parent of a teen who's interested in breast enhancement, or a teen who's considering breast augmentation yourself, play it smart and safe with these preparatory guidelines: