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Cosmetic Surgery: How Young Is Too Young? - Articles Surfing
More and more, society places a high value on physical appearance. While good looks have been admired and coveted for thousands of years, in recent history the emphasis on physical attractiveness has increased. So much of what we are influenced by is what --and who-- we see in movies, television, magazines, and even on the Internet. And the people we see in the media are becoming more and more perfect, with airbrushing and stylists and 'starve yourself to perfection' diets. If you're not perfect, you don't fit.
Unfortunately, most of us were not born perfect. For many people, this can be a painful reality to face, especially if that person has a particular feature they're not happy with. And nobody is affected more by concerns about their physical appearance than teenagers. Teen self image is especially delicate, and teens are particularly prone to feeling unhappy with the face (or body) they see in the mirror.
Cosmetic surgery can be a good option for those who are unhappy with their current appearance. But for teenagers, the line between an appropriate procedure to improve self image and an inappropriate procedure can be blurry. How young is too young for cosmetic surgery? How can you tell if your teenager is ready?
When determining if a patient is the right age for cosmetic surgery, doctors look at it from two angles-- the effect the surgery will have on the patient physically, and the effect it will have emotionally.
Physically, the minimum age for cosmetic surgery differs from procedure to procedure. For some procedures, such as Rhinoplasty (nose job), patients can receive the surgery at a fairly young age. For Rhinoplasty, the minimum age of potential patients is 13 or 14 for girls, and 14 or 15 for boys. Another popular procedure, Otoplasty, which reshapes deformed ears or pins back protruding ears, can be performed on patients as young as four years of age.
There are many procedures, however, that are not appropriate for people who are not fully grown. Many of these are popular procedures that shape the body. Liposuction, for instance, reduces the amount of fat in the body. This is inappropriate for teenagers, as many people lose their 'baby fat' at 17, 18, and even 19 years old. Another of the most-requested procedures that is generally inappropriate for teens is breast augmentation. Unless the procedure is used to make breasts more symmetrical, it is not recommended that girls under 19 or 20 undergo the procedure, as their breasts are still growing.
In addition to concerns about growing and changing bodies, surgeons must also look into a potential patient's mental state. Are they emotionally ready for this life change? Many teenagers have a difficult time being consistent about what they want, and sometimes their gripes about their appearance are tied in more deeply with their self-esteem than with their physical attributes.
A New York plastic surgeon, Darrick Antell, M.D., says that before performing any procedure on a teenage patient, he will attempt to ensure that their concern is real and consistent. "Is it the nose one week, the ears the next, and the breast the following week? We want to be sure it is a consistent complaint.'
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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