The Teenage Pursuit for Perfection: Is Plastic Surgery The Answer?

From: KMR Communications
Published: Wed May 18 2005

(Newport Beach, CA) A new car or backpacking trip around Europe for a high school graduation gift is now being replaced with a "new appearance." According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, cosmetic surgical procedures on patients 18 or younger increased 20 percent between 2000 and 2004. Plastic surgery has become more common in every demographic and more affordable due to financing. It is not uncommon to see a teenager come into a physician’s office with their parent(s) requesting a new nose or bigger breasts for their Sweet 16 or graduation.

Many adults minimize kids' discontent with their bodies and argue that self-esteem issues are normal for teenagers. Dr. Boris Ackerman, Newport Beach-based board certified plastic surgeon, has seen many teenagers come through his office requesting cosmetic procedures such as breast augmentations and rhinoplasty. Dr. Ackerman states, "In today’s society, teenagers are very self conscience about their looks. With the increase of beautiful teen icons, comes a resurgence of teens wanting to emulate these superstars. There is a tremendous amount of peer pressure now more than ever before. For some teenage patients, cosmetic plastic surgery can help foster emotional and physical development."

The plastic surgeon must make clear, between the patient and guardian that the teen’s expectations are unmistakably understood and the appropriate operation is selected. It is vital that both the parent and the teen be honest about their feelings regarding any cosmetic operation. Teen patients need to have a realistic expectation of what to expect from plastic surgery. Although certainly not appropriate in every case, "plastic surgery can do a young person a world of good, " says Dr. Ackerman. He adds, "take a child with a large or humped nose or a young woman (or young man) with breasts so large that he or she either literally cannot or refuses to participate in sports or social activities, you can be sure that’s one unhappy youngster. With surgical correction, the miserable young person often blossoms in new ways. It’s not what the surgery does to the child, it’s what the child chooses to do with the surgery." Furthermore, Dr. Ackerman, one of the doctors featured on MTV’s "I Want A Famous Face," also states "Cosmetic surgery in teens should be approached with caution, yet, at the same time, viewed as a potential opportunity for the teenager."

Some of the most common surgical operations for teenagers are as follows:
§ Rhinoplasty (nose reshaping)
§ Otoplasty (ear pinback)
§ Lipoplasty (liposuction)
§ Breast Reduction (in both boys and girls)
§ Breast Augmentation

In a recent survey found on a Web site aimed toward teens, nearly 15,000 teenagers were asked, "How do you feel about teens and cosmetic plastic surgery?" The majority, 54 percent (7,622), responded that it depends on the situation. If your child feels inadequate physically and this affects him/her socially or academically, you may want to look into treatment options. Congenital defects, scarring, loss of facial function, asymmetry, or imbalance can create extreme distress unnecessarily if it can be corrected with treatment or surgery.

Dr. Ackerman recommends that every parent sit down with their teen and consider the following questions:

§ Why do they want to change their appearance?
§ What are their expectations for the results?
§ Do they know the risks?
§ Are they emotionally mature?
§ Are they physically mature?

Open communication between the teenager and parent is extremely important. Consider whether the procedure will truly impact the quality of your teen’s life, or if it’s just something to help him or her "fit in" on a superficial level by adhering to the latest fad.

For more information please contact Dr. Ackerman at 949-759-3284.
Company: KMR Communications
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