Plastic surgery for teenagers is a controversial topic. Some may feel teens lack the emotional and psychological maturity to undergo cosmetic enhancement, while others support teens’ right to correct a perceived physical flaw. In addition, there is the issue of physical development, which can have a negative effect on the results if not handled properly.
It’s important to understand that teens seeking plastic surgery generally have different motivations than adults. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), of which Dr. Pugash is a member, points outs that teens “often have plastic surgery to improve physical characteristics they feel are awkward or flawed, that if left uncorrected, may affect them well into adulthood.”
The ASPS also believes teens typically pursue plastic surgery so they physically resemble their classmates and fit in. Adults, on the other hand, tend to have plastic surgery to stand out from their peers.
Some teens are teased and bullied because of their appearance, especially if they have a physical deformity or an extremely pronounced feature. The cruel words and actions of classmates can significantly affect a teenager’s mental well-being.
In these cases, plastic surgery can have a tremendously positive impact on the teen’s self-esteem. It can save a teen from years of merciless teasing and bullying, make them more comfortable with their body and help them feel more confident in social situations.
The Most Common Plastic Surgery Procedures
Otoplasty is a common plastic surgery procedure amongst teenagers (and even children). Otoplasty corrects oversized or protruding ears, bringing them closer to the head and into better proportion with the rest of the face.
A common plastic surgery procedure for teenaged girls is the correction of breast asymmetry, where one breast is noticeably larger than the other. Breast asymmetry can be improved by augmenting the smaller breast with an implant, reducing the larger breast or a combination of both.
Breast reduction is also common among teenage girls who suffer physical and/or psychological side effects of oversized, heavy breasts (e.g., neck/back pain, limited physical activity). Breast reduction can help these girls feel more comfortable with their bodies and participate in a wider range of sports and physical activities.
Not every teenager is a suitable candidate for plastic surgery. If your teen is considering plastic surgery to improve a physical imperfection, there are several things to keep in mind:
1) They must meet certain milestones in growth (e.g., the growth of the breasts or ears should be stable).
2) They must demonstrate emotional maturity.
3) They must seek the surgery because of personal motivations — not at the behest of someone else.
Teens seeking plastic surgery must understand the realities of surgery, including the possible risk of complications, and what the recovery period entails. Teens should have reasonable expectations of the surgical outcome. They should understand that plastic surgery will improve their physical appearance, but it won’t solve all of their problems. These topics will be discussed at length during the consultation with the plastic surgeon.
For more information about plastic surgery for teenagers, and whether it is a good idea for your teen, please contact the office of Vancouver plastic surgeon Eric Pugash at (604) 522-5199.