Many adolescents and teens may be affected by body image issues that they believe can be corrected with plastic surgery. According to annual numbers released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more patients aged 13-19 are undergoing cosmetic procedures than ever before, and the trend is only likely to increase. But how young is too young to start getting work done?
There are guidelines in place to regulate cosmetic procedures performed on minors. Any patient under the age of 18 must have parental consent and display certain signs of maturity and understanding of the process. FDA rules prohibit the use of saline breast implants in patients under the age of 18 and silicone implants under the age of 22. Still, more teens are looking towards cosmetic surgery as a viable option.
The most common procedures for this age group target areas that are most often the source of image issues, specifically the nose, ears, skin, and breasts. This can bring a boost to patients’ self-esteem and confidence, but experts advise both parents and teens to be cautious when considering whether or not to undergo plastic surgery.
The main limiting factors in these operations are biological and physical maturity. For best results, all of the skeleton, muscle, and tissue of the target area should be fully developed. However, though the cartilage and bone surrounding the nose may still be growing, it is not unheard of for a 14-year-old to receive a rhinoplasty. There may also be concerns that teenagers haven’t developed enough perspective on their physical image to make truly informed decisions about cosmetic procedures.
None of this has stopped celebrities, notorious for their industry’s love of cosmetic enhancement, from pursuing these procedures from an early age. Janet Jackson famously had her nose reworked at 16, as did Lisa Kudrow of TV’s Friends. It is not uncommon, either, for female celebrities to opt for breast enlargement as soon as possible, with many stars receiving work on their bustline between the ages of 18 and 22.
For children with medical issues that can benefit from facial reconstruction and matured teens who are committed to their choice, plastic surgery may indeed make them more comfortable with their features.
To learn more about various cosmetic surgery options available, check out our resources section or find a doctor in your area for a consultation.