My Teen Wants Plastic Surgery – Most Important Considerations

Plastic surgery has become so commonplace that you probably know several people who have had something done in your circle of family, friends, coworkers and neighbors. The trend of teens also wanting cosmetic surgery is also growing. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons notes that 219,000 teens 18 and under received cosmetic surgical procedures in 2008. Many experts feel there are additional issues to consider among this age group.

Common Cosmetic Surgeries For Teens

The teen years are a time of intense focus on the appearance they present to their peers and the world at large. Many teens may be unhappy with their facial or body features, such as their nose, acne scars, large breasts or protruding ears. Procedures are available to fix these problems, but parents should consider a number of factors before giving their consent to these surgeries. All surgery involves some risk. Both the teen and the parents should have a frank discussion with the surgeon so that they have a clear understanding of these risks before proceeding with surgery.

Body Image Issues

Adolescents may have profound body image problems that distort their view if themselves. They may feel ugly, may feel that they look fat or imagine that a minor flaw is much more noticeable than it really is. Parents must make a realistic assessment about the teen’s desire to undergo cosmetic surgery to correct a small flaw. Often, after a year or two, the teen matures a bit and no longer feels so negative about the flaw.


The need to change something about one’s exterior might indicate a general sense of unhappiness with the self that could indicate depression. Parents should be alert for other signs of depression, such as overwhelming sadness, lack of enjoyment of activities, inability to feel emotions and other unusual reactions. If these symptoms are present, parents should seek counseling to ensure that the dissatisfaction with appearance does not indicate a deeper problem.

Social Concerns

.Many teens feel that imperfections in their appearance will hamper their success in dating and social success. Their concerns may be exaggerated, and parents will have to make measured judgments regarding the need for surgery to correct flaws.

Emotional Maturity

Another consideration for surgery is the emotional maturity of the teen. If the teen has inflated expectations for the surgery, they may not be ready to understand the risks and rewards of these procedures. These teens may benefit from waiting until they reach 18.