With news of eight-year-olds getting Botox injections, the ages of women (or girls) undergoing cosmetic treatments is setting off alarm in the media and among consumers. Are teens really getting more plastic surgery than ever? Yes and no.
There was a surge in the number of plastic surgeries among teens aged 13 to 19 from 2002 to 2006. During this time, the number of procedures doubled, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, with the number of procedures surpassing 244,000 in a year. In 2010, however, the total number of procedures decreased, with teens aged 13 to 19 undergoing just over 220,000 procedures. However, there has been an increase in the types of procedures done.
While many people might gasp at the high number of procedures performed on teens, it is important to take a look at the types of procedures being performed. Many of the procedures don’t seem to signal a desire for perfection. For instance, the third most popular teen plastic surgery, accounting for 14 percent of all teen procedures, is gynecomastia, or breast reduction for boys. Other common procedures include breast reduction for females, correction of dissimilar breasts, pinning back protruding ears, and dermabrasion for acne. The most popular procedure for teens, as for adults, is rhinoplasty (74 percent of teen procedures). Ears, noses, acne, breasts—many of the features peers and bullies may criticize—are being altered at the choice of the teen.
Overall, teens make up only 2 percent of all plastic surgery procedures performed. However, this number has tripled since 2002. As plastic surgery becomes more acceptable by the population at large, is it becoming more acceptable for teens? The fact that rhinoplasty is so important across the board seems to suggest that what’s become acceptable for adults to alter, is becoming more acceptable for teens to change, as well. And that teen concerns about appearance are reflecting those of society as a whole.
Another question that many people ask is whether it’s safe for teens to receive plastic surgery. Most teens are skeletally mature by the age of fifteen, which means that most procedures can be safely performed on them. There are some procedures that should not be performed on teens, if they are still developing, and a good surgeon will inform you whether your teen can safely undergo the procedure. Of course, plastic surgery is still surgery, and any major surgery involves side effects and risks. On the other hand, some wonder whether it is safe for teens’ mental health for them to undergo cosmetic surgery at such a young age. That will surely depend on the situation, and the teen.
If you want to learn more about teen plastic surgery risks and safety, it is a good idea to speak with a board-certified plastic surgeon. You’ll be able to find out the facts and learn whether plastic surgery is a reasonable, safe option for your teen.