Plastic Surgery for Teens

Valerie Ulene, L.A. Times: Jan 12, 2009

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates that more than 330,000 adolescents — most of them female — underwent cosmetic procedures in 2007. The most popular surgical procedures were nose jobs, breast augmentation, ear reshaping and liposuction.

Of course American teens want to undergo these procedures: They face tremendous pressure to be attractive, and they’re constantly bombarded with images of beautiful men and women who are held up as the norm.

“We’ve made a decision about what beauty looks like in this country, and everybody — teens in particular — wants to fit the mold,” says Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Research Center for Women and Families, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the health of women and children.

But, in general, cosmetic surgery may not be appropriate for adolescents. After all, altering the way you look before you’re even done developing physically seems almost ridiculous.

Many plastic surgeons argue that cosmetic procedures aren’t just about improving appearances; they make the case that surgery can improve teenagers’ self-esteem too. […]

“Although patients who have undergone a cosmetic procedure often do feel better about that particular body part, there’s really no data to suggest that it improves their overall body image or self-esteem,” Zuckerman says. […]

Teens need to be mature enough to understand what the surgery can and cannot do for them. A nose job may eliminate a bump and liposuction might slim their hips, but these procedures won’t eliminate problems in their lives.

Read the original article here