Performing cosmetic plastic surgery operations on children and teenagers is a highly debated subject. Some think that society has become too obsessed with looks and that allowing kids to alter their appearance is simply condoning this behavior. Others argue that children with unusual or awkward features should be able to ‘correct’ these imperfections in order to feel more comfortable with themselves. The truth is that each case is different and requires the analysis of several factors before a decision can be made on whether the child is suitable for plastic surgery. In order for a child to have successful plastic surgery, a skilled plastic surgeon must set ethical standards to assess these factors before carrying out the procedure.
Reason for Plastic Surgery
The first question to ask is why the child or parents desire plastic surgery. It is important to determine if their motives are healthy (and to assure that the child, not just the parents, want the surgery). Kids or teenagers who have features that bother them (physically or mentally) or make them insecure about themselves may be candidates. In addition, if they are being teased or bullied for this characteristic, surgery may be an option. Although some may argue that bullying is not a legitimate reason, bullying can actually cause significant damage to the psyche of children and adolescents that can affect them for the rest of their lives.
Plastic surgery on teenagers is more of a complex situation. The plastic surgeon must be able to ascertain if the potential patient has realistic expectations. Having a rhinoplasty, for example, does not automatically make you more popular or get you better grades in school. Having a plastic surgery operation in order to emulate the actions or appearances of celebrities is a contraindication for surgery as well.
Age and Development of the Child
Determining at what age a child or teenager has plastic surgery is critical for a successful outcome. A reasonable grasp by the child of why the operation is going to be performed is essential, as is the ability of the child to understand reasonable expectations.
The natural development and growth of the face and body also must be considered. This is especially true for rhinoplasty in that these patients are generally older, and proper facial bone growth should occur before surgery. Females with very large, heavy breasts who consider breast reduction should wait until their breast size stabilizes after puberty.
Most Common Procedures
The most commonly undergone procedures in children ages 18 and younger are:
To learn more about the plastic surgery procedures offered at my Arizona practice and to see if you or your child may be a candidate, please call (480) 890-0600 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your consultation.