During the teenage years, it is quite common for teens to feel self-conscious of their bodies, especially because so many physical and emotional changes happen simultaneously. But what if your teenager feels ashamed or embarrassed by an area of their body and expresses the desire for plastic surgery? As a parent, you want what’s best for your child. But is it ever appropriate for teenagers to have cosmetic surgery? Read on as Dr. Samuel Pearl and Dr. Alexander Ereso weigh in with their thoughts.
Cosmetic Plastic Surgery for Teenagers Is Rarely Recommended
Most plastic surgeons are very careful about recommending elective cosmetic surgery for young patients who are not of legal age to make medical decisions on their own. Although there are always exceptions, teenagers are usually not physically or mentally mature enough for most types of elective surgery. Operating on their growing and transitioning bodies could compromise the quality of the results and require additional surgery in the future. It also subjects them to risks that could jeopardize not only their appearance but also their safety. Furthermore, many teenagers don’t have the mental fortitude to grasp the seriousness of surgery including the length of recovery and the potential for complications. It can be difficult for minors to set reasonable expectations of treatment, and to follow all of their medical team’s guidelines.
With that in mind, there are rare circumstances in which plastic surgery may be appropriate for a teenager. For example, if your teenager is very self-conscious of the appearance of their nose or they are experiencing breathing problems due to the nasal structures, rhinoplasty may be a consideration. It is advised you wait until the nose has fully matured, which generally happens around the age of 15 or 16 in girls and about a year later in boys.
Otoplasty to reduce prominent ears or “pin” protruding ears closer to the head can be performed any time after the age of 5 or 6. Improving the appearance of your teen’s oversized or protruding ears could save them from teasing or bullying.
Breast reduction is an option if your teenage daughter experiences the physical or psychological burdens of very large, heavy breasts. However, you and your daughter may be advised to delay surgery until breast growth ceases.
Consulting with a Plastic Surgeon
If your teenager demonstrates that they are emotionally ready for surgery and responsible enough to handle the recovery, you should encourage them to do research and learn more about the requested procedure.
The next step is to book a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. During the appointment, the plastic surgeon will perform a thorough examination and ask questions to determine your teen’s motivation and maturity. It is extremely important that your teen expresses their own desire for plastic surgery, has reasonable expectations and demonstrates they can tolerate the side effects and temporary discomfort of the surgical recovery process.
Ultimately it is up to the plastic surgeon’s discretion whether plastic surgery is appropriate and can deliver the desired results.
Contact Our Plastic Surgeons
If you believe your teen may be a good candidate for a procedure like rhinoplasty or otoplasty, please book a consultation with Dr. Pearl or Dr. Ereso. Call or email us to make your appointment.