The number of cosmetic surgeries performed on teenagers 18 and younger has dropped sharply in the past two years, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).
The most commonly performed surgery for the under-18 group was otoplasty, which corrects the appearance of ears. However, the most popular cosmetic treatments in 2010 overall were nonsurgical procedures such as laser hair removal and chemical peels.
The most popular cosmetic surgery for children is otoplasty, which typically takes place around the age of 5 or 6, when the ears have almost finished developing but before children enter school. The procedure can prevent teasing and offers a quick recovery time.
Rhinoplasty, or nose reshaping, is the most requested procedure among teenagers, and plastic surgeons can usually correct functional problems associated with the nasal passages at the same time that they improve the nose’s appearance.
Other popular procedures include breast reduction in girls (and increasingly boys) and breast asymmetry correction. Liposuction is rarely performed among teenagers, since plastic surgeons hesitate to perform the operation unless there are significant factors in favor of it.
According to the ASAPS report, there was a dramatic 38 percent drop in the number of surgical procedures performed on teenagers over the past two years, from 203,308 procedures in 2009 to 125,397 in 2010. Both of these figures are much lower than the 298,704 reported in 2001.
The report seems to contradict the impression generally given in media reports that teenage cosmetic surgery has burgeoned into an epidemic over the past decade. Although the number of procedures currently being performed on teens does significantly exceed rates in the early 1990s, this can be attributed more to a greater range of options and enhanced surgical techniques and technologies than to any deeper American social malaise.
Responsible plastic surgeons always ensure that the physical feature in question has basically finished growing, since postoperative growth could negate the effects of the surgery. They also make sure to discuss the procedure with the potential patient, in order to:
- dispel any myths or misconceptions
- set up reasonable expectations
- consider the benefits, drawbacks, and risks
- explore postoperative issues and recovery times
Plastic surgeons should always ensure that all patients, especially younger ones, fully understand the nature of plastic surgery and are likely to emotionally benefit from the experience.
Interested in article topic? – Dr Morris Ritz