The teen years are notorious for fostering feelings of self-consciousness and social anxiety. In most cases, as teens mature they grow more comfortable in their own skin and these negative feelings resolve on their own.
In other cases, however, they can be more persistent and likely to hinder self-esteem and opportunities in life. According to Dr. Aviva Preminger, a board certified plastic surgeon, “For some adolescents, teen plastic surgery can provide a much-needed boost of confidence, but it is a step that should only be taken after much consideration.”
Special considerations in cosmetic procedures for teens
Referring to surgical procedures as “cosmetic” may make them seem like they are performed purely to enhance looks, but the results are far more reaching than that.
When a teen has a physical feature that causes such self-consciousness or embarrassment that it interferes with daily life, it can place a roadblock in their participation in personal and academic opportunities.
Teenagers need to be treated differently from adults when considering plastic surgery. Their bodies change dramatically in a short amount of time so they should be reasonably sure that the procedure is something that will address a long-term concern rather than a fleeting one.
In addition to ensuring healthy motivations, the patient consultation should also include a thorough review of health and mental conditions. Plastic surgery procedures should not be performed if the teen suffers from conditions such as body dysmorphic disorder or has other body-image issues.
Popular plastic surgery for teens
The most often requested cosmetic procedures for teenagers aim to correct physical conditions that lead to weakened confidence. Topping the list is ear surgery, or tonoplast, which reduces the prominence or projection of the upper ear, but is sometimes done to repair the lobes.
Other popular procedures include:
- Nose surgery (rhinoplasty) can improve appearance but may also be performed to improve breathing
- Correction of breast asymmetries caused by congenital or developmental abnormalities leads to a more balanced appearance, better fit in clothing, and benefits to self-confidence
- Nipple reduction can correct disproportionate size in relation to the breast and improve one’s sense of beauty
- Labiaplasty reduces the size of the labia minora, which can cause uncomfortable chafing and poor fit for clothing
- Removal of auxiliary breast tissue growing in other places such as the armpit; reduces embarrassment and ensures undergarments and clothing fit properly and comfortably. Females are not the only candidates; in some cases, males develop breast tissue similar to women’s breast tissue and it often leads to severe self-consciousness.
After thoughtful personal consideration, the first step in teen plastic surgery is to meet with a caring and experienced plastic surgeon. A qualified cosmetic surgeon will never undertake a teen procedure lightly and should explore any other options first.