Age limits for plastic surgeryAccording to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 224,079 teenagers between the ages 13 and 19 had plastic surgery in 2014. This number is an increase from the previous year and raises the question, “how young is too young?” The truth is that most children and teenagers are too young for plastic surgery, but there are exceptions. In this blog post, plastic surgeon Dr. Joseph Michaels discusses the factors that both teens and their parents should consider before making a decision about plastic surgery.

Physical Maturity

In most cases, operating on areas of the body that are still developing is highly discouraged. For example, a woman’s breasts may not stop growing until she is in her 20s. A teenage girl who is unhappy with her small breasts may find that her breasts will grow to “fit” the rest of her body over time. Similarly, a child or teenager who complains about fatty deposits on the abdomen may desire a slimmer body and seek liposuction. However, they may experience a growth spurt at some point in their adolescence or even early 20s, causing them to naturally slim down. These changes may resolve some of the child or teen’s body image concerns over time.

In some cases, teenagers suffer pain from a physical characteristic, such as large, heavy breasts, and wish to have plastic surgery. In this case, breast reduction surgery may be considered to alleviate the physical discomfort and psychological pain caused by heavy breasts. An example of this is the case of “Modern Family” star Ariel Winter who recently revealed she had breast reduction surgery. The 17-year-old actress said she decided to undergo the procedure because of the unwanted attention she would receive for her size F breasts. After the surgery, Winter told the media she finally felt confident about herself.

Another procedure performed on children and teenagers is otoplasty. Otoplasty, or ear reshaping surgery, can be performed on children any time after the age of 5.

Emotional Maturity

All teenagers considering plastic surgery should be emotionally mature and understand the realities of plastic surgery. They should be aware that while plastic surgery can improve their self-confidence, it may not solve all of their problems, such as social anxiety. Teenagers should also be mentally prepared for the temporary discomfort that comes after surgery and be aware of possible risks and complications. They should also be in good mental health and not suffer from depression or mental illnesses. Teenagers considering plastic surgery should also not be abusing alcohol or substances or be prone to erratic behavior.

It is also important to note that parental consent is required for plastic surgery patients under the age of 18. If a parent consents, and the child or teen is physically and emotionally mature, plastic surgery options may be discussed with a board-certified plastic surgeon.

If your child or teen has requested plastic surgery and you would like to discuss it with a professional, please contact Dr. Joseph Michaels today. Schedule a personal consultation by calling (301) 468-5991 in Bethesda or (703) 957-8610 in Fairfax.

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