*originally posted in Long Island Press
- Rhinoplasty (nose reshaping) is the most common cosmetic procedure requested by teens. For teenagers concerned with their appearance, a big or deformed nose can be disheartening. The nose has finished most of its growth by 13 or 14 in girls and 15 or 16 in boys. For some teenage patients, I believe cosmetic plastic surgery can benefit their emotional development and self-image.
- Otoplasty (ear pinback) is one of the few operations performed on young children, even as young as 5. Ears are almost fully grown by age 4, and the earlier the surgery, the less teasing and ridicule the child will have to endure. Ear surgery on adults is also possible, and there are generally no additional risks associated with ear surgery on an older patient.
- Breast Reduction can help girls as young as 15 who are embarrassed by very large breasts. They may be having shoulder pains, breathing difficulty and embarrassment in social situations.
- Breast Asymmetry even though operations to correct breast asymmetry can help girls as young as 16, most doctors would wait until full growth has occurred (approximately 18 years old).
- Gynecomastia (excessive breast development on men) is common in teenage boys and often disappears on its own. If severe, the excess tissue can be removed as young as 16.
Of course, the surgeon must make certain that the teen’s expectations are clearly understood and realistic. Both the parents and the teen must be open about their feelings concerning plastic surgery. Ideally, the parents should be in complete agreement and support of the procedure. At the same time, the teen should be undergoing the procedure solely because the teenager wants it and will benefit from it, not because of anyone else’s expectations.
When it’s better to wait
- Breast enlargement should not be done before the age of 18 because late development may occur.
- Liposuction is not a solution for unwanted baby fat. Most teens experience major changes in the body shape over several years