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Tips for Parents: Teen Plastic Surgery | PDF

Once considered just for the rich and famous, plastic surgery has become much more common among the general population. Plastic surgery in teens has risen dramatically, but is it the right choice for your teen? Educate yourself on the reasons teens get plastic surgery and the risks involved.

Why do Teens Get Plastic Surgery?

There are two types of plastic surgery: cosmetic and reconstructive. Cosmetic plastic surgery is done to make a part of the body “look better” or be more esthetically pleasing. Reconstructive surgery is done to correct birth defects such as cleft palate, or to remove acne scars or correct damage from an injury.

The rise in plastic surgery among teens comes mostly from cosmetic surgery. Common surgeries that teens undergo include:
•    Rhinoplasty (change the appearance of the nose)
•    Otoplasty (pin ears that stick out)
•    Dermabrasion (removes acne scars)
•    Breast augmentation (typically only to correct uneven breasts)
•    Breast reduction (decreases large, heavy breasts)
•    Gynecomastia (removes unwanted breast tissue in males)

What are the Risks?

The risks of plastic surgery in teenagers depends on the procedure being done. In general, the risks include reactions to anesthesia, infection, and complications in healing. In addition, the results may not always turn out to be exactly what was expected.

Is Plastic Surgery Right for My Teenager?

Before you decide about plastic surgery for your son or daughter, ask these questions:
1.    What are the reasons for my teen having surgery? Is it something the teen has initiated or is it being done to please someone else?
2.    Is my teen emotionally mature enough to handle the stresses of making this decision, as well as to undergo the procedure and healing process?
3.    Will growth affect the results? For example, many plastic surgeons don’t recommend a rhinoplasty if the child’s nose will continue to grow after. Saline breast augmentation is not recommended for girls under 18 because their breasts typically aren’t finished growing until then.
4.    In the case of liposuction, have diet and exercise been given a serious attempt?
5.    Does a mental health issue such as depression or an eating disorder influence my child’s self-esteem? Plastic surgery is typically not recommended for teens undergoing treatment for these conditions.
6.    Has my teen expressed a desire for the surgery consistently over a long period of time? If not, more time should be taken before a decision is made.
7.    Will our health insurance cover this procedure? If not, can we afford this without taking on more debt than we can handle?

More Info about Teen Plastic Surgery

Be sure the surgeon you’re considering is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. For more information about specific procedures, finding a surgeon, and if surgery is right for your teen, start by talking with your child’s pediatrician.

Related Tips for Parents:
Tips for Parents: Adolescence
Tips for Parents: Girls’ Body Image

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