According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2016 about 229,000 cosmetic procedures were performed on teens aging from thirteen to nineteen years old. Cosmetic surgery’s purpose is to enhance the appearance of a body part. Most teens start to struggle with self-acceptance and acceptance from peers about their appearance. Some of those teens believe body modification would be the solution. Parents and specialists want to support the teen’s decision, but know it is not a good idea. Some procedures are lifetime commitments, high expenses, and cause unwanted marks. Ages under nineteen years should not be exposed to cosmetic surgery because they are not mature enough to make this decision and they will acquire problems in the future.
The most common procedures performed on teens are rhinoplasty, otoplasty, mammoplasty, and male breast reduction. Rhinoplasty is a nose reshaping surgery by making incisions to access the cartilage and bones. Otoplasty is ear surgery to change the shape and size of the ear. Breast augmentation and breast reduction are examples of mammoplasty, which is breast surgery. The FDA has not approved breast augmentation in patients younger than eighteen. Kuldeep Singh, Department of Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, reports, “Reconstructive breast augmentation is generally performed to correct asymmetry caused by congenital errors, trauma or disease, Poland’s Syndrome and tuberous breast deformity.” Poland’s Syndrome is a birth defect that causes underdevelopment or absence of the chest muscle. Hormone imbalance and obesity can cause gynecomastia, enlargement of a man’s breast, which can be fixed by male breast reduction. Parents are allowed to give permission to allow the teen to have the procedure. Derrick Diaz, J.D., of Rutgers School of Law-Camden, B.A., and Rutgers University-New Brunswick, argues, “However, laws that give parents ultimate control over adolescent bodies fail to respect the developing autonomy and liberty interests of teens.”KuniJ.Simis, Frank C. Verhulst, and Hans M.Koot, all of Erasmus University, reports, “Studies show that adult plastic surgical patients undergoing either cosmetic or reconstructive operations tend to exaggerate their deformity (Hay, 1970; Napoleon, 1993), whereas studies on children and adolescents undergoing cleft lip andcraniofacialsurgery showed that they tend to underestimate their deformity as compared to their surgeons’ and their parents’ appearance ratings (Lefebvre & Barclay, 1982; Lefebvre & Munro, 1978).
However, a previous study on the same sample, comparing adolescents’, parents’, and surgeons’ views, suggested a realistic appearance-perception of adolescents undergoing plastic surgery for a broad range of deformities (Simis,Koot, Verhulst,Hovius, & The Adolescent Plastic Surgical Research Group, 2000). The only way a minor can have cosmetic surgery is by having permission from the specialists and the parent. There are specialists that are not trust-worthy and not qualified to perform on a minor. The parent wants their teenager to be safe and satisfied with their appearance. “Katherine Cohen Cooper, has a J.D. from Harvard Law School in Cambridge and a B.A. from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, writes, “it is entirely legal for physicians to perform breast implant surgery on individuals under the age of eighteen as an off-label.” The FDA allows ages under eighteen to get silicone implants, but view it as an “off-label”. Teen cosmetic surgery seems out of the question, however surgeons still do it.
There should be laws to prevent specialists from performing cosmetic surgery on teenagers. Many people are against cosmetic surgery because it is dangerous in general, in light of the reason of the number of complications that might happen during the surgical procedure. Teen cosmetic surgery should not be allowed because teens are not prepared to make this choice and there will be problems later for the teen. There are many factors that influences the teen decision, such as, social media, peers, and parents. Some teens do not consider future consequences of their actions and teens that undergo this surgery could develop health problems when they are older.Alicia Ouellette, Associate Dean & Professor of Law, Albany Law School, acknowledges, “In fact, research in developmental science reveals immaturities in adolescent cognition-impetuousness, risk-taking, and susceptibility to peer pressure” that are directly relevant to decisions about body modification.”
The majority of teens are influenced by social media with comments and other social media profiles. Socialmedia changes how the teen feels about his or her self. Both females and males are dissatisfied with their body, but females are more likely to go through with the surgery. The teen would rather change their appearance to please their peers instead of his or her self. Cynthia Elliott, MD, the board owner ofSkinspirationsand specializes in enhancement for the face and body, points out, “A new poll by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) revealed that one in three cosmetic surgeons saw an increase in procedures due to patients being exposed to more social media and becoming more self-aware of looks. In fact, 13% of the members surveyed identified increased photo sharing and patients’ dissatisfaction with their own image on social media sites as a rising trend in practice.” Some cosmetic surgeons use social media to promote their practices.
There are celebrities that did cosmetic surgery at a young age. Sources believe teens’ decisions are affected by body dysmorphic disorder. Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental disorder that affects body perception by picking out assumed and real imperfections of their appearance. The decision for having cosmetic surgery should be evaluated and questioned.Teen cosmetic surgery comes with many problems and complications. Some cosmetic procedures are a lifetime commitment. ChristinaDavis-Kankanamge, MD is a Pediatric Adolescent Gynecology Fellow at the University of Missouri and clinical instructor at Truman Medical Center, and notes, “While implants can be removed, patients should understand that implant lifespan is 10 years, meaning additional surgery may be required.” Breast implants would have to be changed every ten years, also the prices to replace are more than $2,000. Marks like scars and bruises could be results from the surgery. The teen would still be self-conscious about their appearance. General surgery risks deal with risks of harm typically involved with all surgeries, and may include: infection, too much bleeding, a poor reaction to anesthesia, accidental injury, pain, visible scars, pooling of blood (hematoma), poor healing, fluid accumulation (seroma), numbness or skin sensation changes, skin discoloration, deep vein thrombosis, heart and lung complications, or even death” (Diaz 240).
The show Botched is about patients who had cosmetic surgery but were not satisfied with the results and doctors solve the issues. Most of the patients had surgery when they were in high school and were not operated properly. I notice the issues of the patients were concerning with breast implants and the natural breast that are now fully grown. By having theses surgeries too early, the patient can develop new issues.The main reasons teens choose to have cosmetic surgery are peer pressure, increase self-esteem, and uncomfortable sensations. Dr. Thomas Buonassisi, a Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon, explains, “Cosmetic surgery is not a solution for bullying, but if the teen is otherwise well adjusted and meets the other criteria for being a good candidate for surgery, surgery might be appropriate. My patients who have had very large noses toned down describe an increases sense of self confidence.” Bullying is a big factor for teens to consider cosmetic surgery. Dr. Buonassisi believes the teen should be allowed to have surgery if they have physical requirements, but not the mental requirements. “ASAPS statistics show that the number oflipoplastyprocedures has decreased from 2,504 in 1997 to 2,253 in 2012, whereas there were 3,576 breast augmentation procedures performed on women 18 and under, 1.1% percent of the total number of breast augmentation procedures. The reasons for surgery were: 52% Cosmetic Bilateral Breast Augmentation; 15% Severe Asymmetry; 12% Poland’s Syndrome (congenital absent breast); 10% Tubular Breast Deformity; 9% Congenita lMicromastia(severe underdevelopment); 2% Other”(Singh).
Mammoplasty should be done on a teen to help get rid of painful symptoms or health problems, rather than for the appearance.” Sharma, Kavita, Kavita S. Sharma, Philip Lim, Racheal Baines, and T. M.Brotherston, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, points out, “The development ofmacromastiain adolescents can be distressing in a very crucial part of a girl’s life. During puberty, a teenager experiences rapid and major changes in appearance and might be displeased with elements of her new. It is also associated with mechanical symptoms likemastalgia, ulceration, and maceration of the breast folds, postural problems, back and neck pain, shoulder notching, and traction injury to the fourth and fifth intercostal nerves.” Between 1997 and 2009, 36 patients underwent unilateral orbilateral breast reductionmammaplastyin our institution…Sixty-seven percent of the patients agreed that they experienced resolution of physical symptoms, which lasted for at least 1-year postoperatively. None of the patients reported significant regrowth, recurrence of symptoms, or revision surgery at the time of the survey, which had a mean of 7 years following surgery. Forty-six percent of the patients stated a resolution of their psychological problems, which continued at least a year following surgery. Seventy-five percent of the patients agreed that they experienced an improvement in their personal relationships, and 92 % agreed that the surgery overall positively impacted their life (Sharma et al 662-663). This study shows cosmetic surgery performed on patients who were under eighteen years old. Many people agree females should feel comfortable in their body. Breast reduction has solved several patients’ physical and mental problems.
Breast reduction is the most appropriate procedure to have on a teen, but it is still fatal.Some plastic surgeons believe that their work is safe for minors. Dr. Paul M. Parker, member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the Northeastern Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, and the New Jersey Society of Plastic Surgeons, believes “Advances in cosmetic surgery have allowed procedures to be performed more safely with more natural appearing results.” The medicine and techniques improve all the time, but the improvements in cosmetic surgery is for adults. Teenagers are not fully developed to undergo major surgery, even if the surgeon and equipment are advanced.Cosmetic surgeons need to consider stages of the cognitive development of an adolescent. Many psychologists are against teen cosmetic surgery because they believe adolescents are in a stage where they do stuff to please others. “Body image dissatisfaction in adolescent patients may be expected to show relations to psychological problems, such as depression and self-esteem, comparable to those ofagematesin the general population” (Simis,KuniJ et al).
By treating these psychological disorders, the teen would avoid getting surgery that they would regret.There should be a requirement of examinations and questions for a teen to do in order to know if he or she needs cosmetic surgery. There should be psychological tests to examine if the teen has body dysmorphic disorder. The teen needs realistic goals and expectations. The procedure should be done with a highly professional surgeon, with legal permission, in an authorized facility, and done when the patient does not school. The weight of the teen should not be an influence in the surgery. A psychologist or therapist would be used to improve the adolescent’s self-esteem by making them feel good about his or her self, instead of doing a hasty decision for body modification. Lisette Hilton quotes Michelle Welch, M.D a dermatologist, and Gia Washington, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, “It could help to ask patients to write out their reasons for requesting the aesthetic intervention and explain their expectations for the results, Dr. Washington says. Dr. Welch says she uses the consultation to not only assess patients and educate, but also to emphasize what’s positive about patients’ features and overall beauty.”Teen cosmetic surgery numbers grow each year. There is always a new trendy surgical procedure that patients want done. Parents of these teens should not let their son or daughter consider this surgery. Teens, that have self-esteem issues, should get support from their parent, but not by surgically changing their appearance.
During a teenager’s life, there are decisions they make that they will regret later on. Parents should tell their teen to be patient and wait till they are old enough to make the decision. A person’s appearance can change throughout the years, so deciding to have cosmetic surgery at a young age would be a mistake. Doctors that are doubtful of performing on a teen should not consider it because they meet the physical criteria. The specialists must be confident about performing on their patient. There are certain laws for different cosmetic procedures, but there are also ways to cheat the system.
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