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Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons
Teen Plastic Surgery, Teen Cosmetic Surgery, Teens and Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery procedures, Teenagers and Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery procedures
“We recently received an e-mail from a teen who was writing a research paper on Plastic/Cosmetic Surgery for Teens. I thought that this issue was important to share with everyone.”… “I am not only a Plastic & Cosmetic Surgeon but the father of 2 teens (teenagers).”…Dr. Francis R. Palmer, III, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Francis R. Palmer, III, M.D., F.A.C.S. World-renowned Beverly Hills Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon, Recently Voted “One of the World’s Best” Aesthetic Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeons, Director of Facial Plastic Surgery USC School of Medicine and Medical Director of the Beverly Hills International Center for Aesthetic Surgery with a high-end Beverly Hills practice for over 16 years answers these important questions.
Yes, I have noticed a rather disturbing trend in the past several years where teens are asking for more radical, body-altering types of Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Procedures. Not only are there more teens seeking surgery but the teens seem to be younger and younger. In the past several years, we have been contacted, on numerous occasions, by 13 year-old’s asking for Breast Augmentation, Liposuction and major bone reshaping surgery of the face. Many of these teens have indicated that their parents approved of the surgery because they had a similar procedure at the same age.
Teens have historically had Rhinoplasty and Chin Augmentation and that was about the extent of the Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Procedures. However, in recent years teens are not only having Rhinoplasty and Chin Augmentation but now are interested in many other types of Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Procedures. Our office gets quite a few e-mails from teens asking about Breast Augmentation/Enhancement with Breast Implants, Liposuction, Lip Augmentation, Cheek Augmentation/Cheek Implants and even Mandibular (Jaw) altering Procedures.
I find this to be a disturbing trend as some of these Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Procedures alter the body shape significantly and I worry that teens are not mature enough to evaluate the risk/benefit potential of these more invasive Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Procedures. I feel that it is more important for a teen to become comfortable with themselves as individuals and get through the sometimes awkward teen years before having Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery to alter their appearance…once again, in my opinion Rhinoplasty, Chin Augmentation and Otoplasty are fine, with the consent of their parents, for teens who meet the criteria for these Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Procedures.
Absolutely.........but not to change who you are inside. Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Procedures can make you more attractive if you follow my “Palmer Beauty Principles”tm that were featured in People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People Edition. However, just because something can be done doesn’t mean that it should be done. I believe that teens needs some time to get to know who and what they are inside before jumping into many Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Procedures. Breast Augmentation, Liposuction and other Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Procedures that alter the shape of the body may add additional stresses to a fragile teenager. I understand that teens see attractive people everywhere. They are all over the magazines that they read and the TV shows they watch. But you have to realize that’s a fantasy created by Hollywood and Madison Avenue, and it’s not real. All I am saying is that you need to learn to love yourself for who and what you are first. Once that’s done and you’re in your twenties, then you can see if you still want that procedure to make you look more attractive. Who knows, you may not. You may already have found the self esteem that you were looking for from the strength obtained from your personal growth and achievements. If not, you’ll be old enough to fully comprehend the scope and gravity of your decision.
Yes, it seems that if the parents had Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Procedures like Rhinoplasty or Otoplasty as a teen...they are more likely to approve of it for their kids. I have spoken with numerous people who relate a very real and positive benefit from having the shape of their nose, chin or ears altered as a teen. In some cases, these individuals were the victims of unkind words or actions of their peers for not fitting in. There are scientific articles describing scorn and ridicule that may occur to children when their ears are overly prominent and the course of action is correction of the ear shape with Otoplasty done as early as 5 years old. This early intervention, in the case of Otoplasty, is to stop the teasing from psychologically affecting the child.
We can not blame parents for trying to smooth out the bumps and rough spots in the sometimes turbulent lives of their teenage children. It is important however for parents of teens to become informed in the possible benefits and risks of Teen Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Procedures. When your teen expresses concerns about their body and their appearance…talk with them about what bothers them and what they see. Teens are becoming increasing savvy about beauty and Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Procedures through information derived from the media and the internet. If they complain of having a large nose and it’s large….don’t tell them it isn’t and don’t minimize how important that may be to them. Instead be prepared to explain why they may need to wait until the nose is done growing (females typically 15, males 17) before a Rhinoplasty could be considered. Let them understand that Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery is not the answer to instant popularity or success but rather is capable of making them look better (not perfect but better) on the outside. They will still be the exact same person on the inside.
I believe that the media and their peers are the major influence on teens seeking Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery to improve their appearance. Teens are bombarded by Ads, of beautiful people, in magazines and on television. Madison Avenue and Hollywood are selling our Teens beauty as an image and our teens are buying into the hype in increasing numbers. I’m not sure most parents understand that their teens are a lucrative market that ad agencies target as potential buyers of products and services. Beauty sells and teens and pre-teens are the latest group manufacturers are trying to sell beauty products like makeup and skincare. While it might not be an issue for a 12 year old to wear eye liner, it is an issue for her to have Breast Augmentation. Her breasts are still growing and may change until 18 years of age. Moreover, I can’t image that a 12 year old is sophisticated enough to decide that she wants to alter her breasts by placing Breast Implants filled with Saline or Silicone. These decisions can tax adults with a quantum level more maturity than a teen or pre-teen.
I would imagine that most parents would try and discourage their teenager from having Breast Implants or Liposuction despite the considerable pressure and badgering that teens are capable of mustering when they want something. I remember reading that teens know that they may have to ask you 7-12 times for the same thing until you finally give up and agree. Teens it seems have a plan and so should all parents. Become informed and listen to your pre-teen or teen. Comment on celebrities or models that look anorexic or unhealthy. Don’t let your children think that this looks good or that this is beauty. By commenting, you are instilling a more mature and balanced set of values into your child. This will enable them to assess what they see in magazines and television and more importantly this opens up a channel of communication between you and your child to discuss their feelings. It’s not unusual for pre-teens and teens to be uncomfortable with their bodies and the changes that are occurring. They need our support as parents…our understanding of what’s happening to them and the reassurance that these awkward feelings will not last forever. Our knowledge, strength and conviction should allow our children to become comfortable with themselves and not to look at Plastic Surgery, or anything else, as a quick-fix for their insecurities or feelings. Parents need to let their children learn that inner strength is the key to a happy and successful life…not the size of their breasts. Ultimately parents control the purse strings. Don’t pay for Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery if you don’t agree with them having the procedure. Please do not take this to mean that teens should never have Plastic Surgery. I don’t mean that at all. I feel that if a teenager , or a child in the case of large protruding ears, is a candidate for Rhinoplasty, Chin Augmentation or Otoplasty….and you have a proper consultation with a trusted, qualified Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon who agrees…you may consider this as an option for your teen. The final question that you as a parent must answer is….is this right for my teen at this particular time in his/her life? If the answer is yes, then by all means let them have the surgery. If not, the answer is no…or at least not now, maybe when you are older.
This issues is so complicated that I can’t cover all aspects of it in this answer however, my take home message to all parents is “Wake up…be informed…get involved…and most importantly we must hold the line here right now.” If we allow teens to have major Plastic Surgery, where do we stop? Age 12, age 10, age 9? I fear this ridiculous scenario may become real if we don’t educate our children that Plastic Surgery is not for children but for mature adults who are done growing and developing who are mature enough to make educated decisions about surgery…which, after all, is serious business.
I could write an entire book on this answer alone. Media has a huge impact on our pre-teens and teens and how they perceive beauty and what’s attractive. Magazine covers show anorexic celebrities or models and everyone is drop dead gorgeous. Our children think that this is all real and unfortunately common. Neither of which is true. All sorts of editing, and manipulations can go into the final photo that our teens see in a magazine and it’s up to us, as parents, to tell them so. Teens see perfect people in magazines, movies and TV and don't realize these are not real situations. The photos and tape may have been digitally corrected to take out the imperfections. The stars don't look like that either….so why should our children try to live up to this impossibility? Surely we, as parents, want to let our children gain the proper perspective from the things they see and hear. We need to tell our teens that it’s ok not to look perfect…perfectly thin, or have the perfect hair/skin/breasts/nose or lips. The scope of this problem became crystal clear, to me, when I saw a program where a 9 year old boy was sad because he didn’t have six pack abs. I wanted to scream at the TV “you’re a kid, go outside and play” you can worry about your abs when you’re older.” Do you think 20 years ago 9 year olds had similar concerns? I doubt it. The impact of the media on our children and how they see themselves can not be denied.
Thankfully, no. This is not as common of a request in teens as in adults. Adults will typically bring in a picture of a celebrity from which I am able to breakdown what they like about how that particular celebrity. This allows me to show the patient how they may be able to have features more like that celebrity. I discourage someone from wanting to look exactly like anyone else. This is unrealistic and may indicate a more serious problem like BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder). BDD is the inability of an individual to see how they appear. Their self appearance is distorted and they do not see themselves as others do…as they really are. People with BDD may therefore ask for Plastic Surgery that they do not really need but in this distorted vision, of themselves, they believe they must have. Must have is the key phrase here and something that all parents should be keen to observe. If your teen idolizes a celebrity, that’s normal. If your teen tells you that she’s fat and that she must have Liposuction….that may be a problem. Even if she is over weight, she or he must learn that diet control and exercise are the answers for life-long control of their weight. Liposuction is a poor answer and should be avoided in most instances.
Plastic Surgery is a permanent fix to making a teen more attractive...but not even a temporary one for all of the social, peer and psychological issues of growing up....hence the problem.
No. What you look like can make your life easier…studies have shown that more attractive people do get better jobs and are more popular so I do understand why teens are motivated to become more attractive. What teens don’t understand is that Plastic Surgery can make you more attractive but not necessarily more happy....contentment comes from within and from loving and respecting yourself and those around you. Teens also need to understand that Plastic Surgery is serious and should not be undertaken lightly. Plastic Surgery is not a means to achieve perfection…you get improvement but not perfection.
I could write another entire book about this subject. Based on my “Palmer Beauty Principles”tm I have learned that everyone on this planet becomes more masculine looking as they age. This benefits men but obviously not women and in my opinion is one of the most important factors influencing why more women than men have Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Procedures. It is also true that society places more pressure on girls and women to constantly look good...they also compete amongst themselves based on their appearance.
No, I don't. This takes a maturity typically not obtained until someone is in their twenties....
Except for Rhinoplasty, Otoplasty and chin implants....I do not believe that teens should do plastic surgery. Altering your body with surgery is serious business and should not be done until you are over 18, best after 20.
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