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Teens and Cosmetic Surgery

More people are considering cosmetic surgery, which includes teenagers. According to American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) statistics, 40 percent of all teens want plastic surgery, and more than 331,000 have had some cosmetic surgery.

All teens are self-conscious about their image. I haven’t met a teenager who didn’t wish to change a thing or two. Fortunately, most of the extreme self-consciousness during this age goes away with time.

A person’s body continues to change through the teen years. Body parts that might appear too large or too small now can become more proportionate over time. Getting in good shape through appropriate weight control and exercise can do great things for a person’s looks without surgery. In fact, it’s never a good idea to choose plastic surgery as a first option for something like weight loss that can be corrected in a non-surgical manner.

However, there are a few cosmetic surgical procedures that are appropriate for teenagers:

  1. Rhinoplasty is the most common cosmetic procedure requested by teens. The nose has finished most of its growth by 13 or 14 in girls and 15 or 16 in boys.
  2. Otoplasty (ear pinback) is one of the few operations performed on young children, even as young as 5.
  3. Scar revision. Various cuts and scratches from regular play may be amenable to simple revisions.

No procedure should be done without the explicit consent of the parents, or legal guardian. I speak with both the patient and the parents at the same time, to help educate everyone on a patient’s specific needs.

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    Houtan Chaboki, M.D.