A Controversial Subject
The Journal of Adolescent Health has recently weighed on the controversial topic of cosmetic surgery in teenagers. They reported that there is an increased rise in plastic surgery among teenagers and that the most popular procedures sought by teens are liposuction and breast implants.
In their report, doctors discuss several concerns with teenagers seeking these cosmetic procedures, including body dysmorphic disorder (a mental condition that is characterized by obsession with body parts). Pediatricians cite that as teenagers age, their body image changes rapidly. They are concerned that there is a lack of long-term research available on the physiological and psychological implications of performing cosmetic surgery on a teenager undergoing puberty.
Researchers also questioned the long term health and financial implications with using implanted devices (breast implants) that have a limited lifespan. What happens when these devices give out?
Another concern was the well-known fact that teenagers are unable to evaluate risks as well as an adult (that part of their brain simply has not matured yet). This coupled with the above concerns have doctors, pediatricians and the general public aware and understandably concerned about the rise of cosmetic surgery in teenagers. Many have sought to ban cosmetic surgery in teens altogether.
With the additional emphasis on negative self body image, eating disorders and the questions surrounding plastic surgery in teenagers, is there any room for a positive rebuttal?
Plastic Surgery can be Beneficial in the Right Circumstance
While it is generally agreed that a 15 year old girl should not be pursuing breast augmentation and it is generally acknowledge that is almost impossible to assess adolescent body image because of the increased dissatisfaction of a teen with their appearance, there is a time and place for cosmetic surgery in teens.
Many teens who suffer from terrible acne due to hormonal changes have had their lives improved through chemical peels that reduce acne and minimize scars and pock marks from acne.
Girls who have overdeveloped breasts have been unable to participate in sports or have suffered through years of leering boys. With a cosmetic breast reduction, these girls have gone on to live normal lives and enjoy a better quality of life.
Teens that suffer from deviated septums, burn injuries, lacerations or other injuries have been able to return to normal life because of the advances in cosmetic surgery.
When considering plastic surgery for your teen, there are important factors to consider. Plastic surgery can benefit a person, but it does have its limitations, and if the defect is in a teen’s brain, no amount of plastic surgery will fix it.
If your teen has requested plastic surgery, it is vastly important to sit down with your teen and determine the reason for it. A high level of emotional maturity is needed, and plastic surgery is not recommended for teens that have mood swings, abuse drugs or alcohol or teens that are being treated for depression or other mental illnesses.