Teens and Cosmetic Surgery

March 31, 2008 10:37:47 AM PDT
More teenagers are having cosmetic surgery. Dr. Nieca Goldberg, author of Complete Guide to Women's Health, takes a realistic look at the risks and goals. According to just released data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 348,000 breast augmentation procedures were performed in 2007, a 64 percent increase from 2000. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reported that between 2002 and 2003, the number of women and girls younger than 18 who got breast implants nearly tripled, from 3,872 to 11,326. Doctors also say they are seeing more parents giving their teens the gift of new breasts or other cosmetic surgery for milestones like birthdays or graduations.

Dr. Nieca Goldberg says cosmetic surgery is not the same thing as buying make-up at the department store. Even if the surgery is elective it can have real risks. She says patients should have a clear goal for the surgery and realistic expectations.

When is too young?

  • It's not just age but what is the patient's overall health
  • A young patient could have a congenital condition that requires surgery at an early age, cleft palate as an example
  • You need to be informed
  • You need to be prepared for the changes
  • Not everyone is a candidate for plastic surgery because of the physical, emotional and psychological reasons at any age.
  • Changing the way you look can change the way you feel about yourself
  • You need to be honest with your doctor about your hopes and expectations

If you're considering plastic surgery:

  • Learn as much as you can about the specific procedure you're considering
  • Use a Surgeon board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • Be sure to tell your doctor about the medications you are taking, for women, including, oral contraceptives or hormone therapy
  • Make sure the surgeon takes a full medical history
  • Make sure the facility conforms to safety standards
  • If you are undergoing anesthesia, make sure the facility is accredited by a recognized group.
  • Find out about expected complications
  • Learn about the recovery time

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