Dangers Of Teen Plastic Surgery

Friday, February 02, 2007

The plastic surgery craze has hit the younger generation. Forty-percent of all teenagers want plastic surgery, and 335,000 already have had it. This pressure to look perfect is not always healthy for teens.

Now teens are going to extremes to get the perfect look. Rita dreams of being a model. At age 18 she went under the knife to get bigger breasts, a smaller butt, stomach, thighs and a new nose.

Rita Demetriou, Plastic Surgery Patient: "I would look at the magazines, especially like the playboy models, and I would see how pretty they are and everything, and I want to be like that."

Rita is not alone.

Kyla Broderick, Plastic Surgery Patient: "I want to be in like the fashion industry and music industry, and looks matter a lot."

Kyla believes her nose job and breast implants have given her more confidence.

But CPMC plastic surgeon, Dr. Carolyn Chang, has concerns. She says most teens in high school should not have plastic surgery.

Carolyn Chang, M.D., S.F. Plastic Surgeon: "I think that teen plastic surgery is something that has to be entered into with a lot of caution."

She says, there are a few exceptions like breast reduction for pain or a nose job for self-esteem, but in most cases, kids should wait.

Carolyn Chang, M.D., S.F. Plastic Surgeon: "My reservations are that even though a teenager may be physically mature, I don't think that the vast majority of teenagers are emotionally mature."

Doctor Leonard Hochstein adds that there's a risk of disappointment.

Leonard Hochstein, M.D., Plastic Surgeon: "What raises a red flag is somebody who believes that this is going to change their life."

And teens may also fix one part of their body and then fixate on another part.

Patricia Clark, Clinical Psychologist: "They can start to experience a body dysmorphic disorder where they start focusing on other slight idiosyncrasies, wanting more surgery."

The focus on looks and beauty is so pervasive; many young women want perfection at any cost. Yet there can be serious risks including scarring, implant ruptures, infections and worse. And while some are willing to risk it, the price can be steep.

Clearly, plastic surgery is a decision for parents and teens to weigh carefully.

It's not illegal to do plastic surgery on any age. But breast enlargement is not encouraged before age 18, because late development may occur. Liposuction is not a solution for baby fat and shouldn't be done until 18.

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