Nip/Tuck: Cosmetic Surgery and Teens

cosmetic surgery, plastic surgery, teensDepending on how you view the idea of cosmetic surgery in general, you likely believe the idea of teens getting a little nip/tuck is just fine--or insane.The reality is however, many parents fall somewhere in between--they're not sure what to think--particularly if they have a child who is suffering from Ew-I -just-hate-my-nose (or some other body part), low-self esteem.


But can self-esteem come from a scalpel? With the dramatic increase in teen cosmetic surgery, a riveting New York Times piece explores just that:

The latest figures from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery show that the number of cosmetic surgical procedures performed on youths 18 or younger more than tripled over a 10-year period, to 205,119 in 2007 from 59,890 in 1997. This includes even more controversial procedures: liposuctions rose to 9,295 from 2,504, and breast augmentations increased nearly sixfold, to 7,882 from 1,326. (The latter two procedures have been associated with the deaths of two 18-year-olds: Amy Fledderman of Pennsylvania, who died in 2001 of fat embolism syndrome after undergoing liposuction, and Stephanie Kuleba of Florida, who died last spring from complications because of anesthesia used during a breast augmentation and inverted nipple surgery.)

Yes, you can die from cosmetic surgery, but that slim possibility is not enough to scare people away.

In fact, in many instances of a teenager desiring plastic surgery, the first influence came from a parent who has had work done themselves. And so even though some parents have issues with the idea of  their teen wanting to go under the knife, some concede because they personally  identify with that yearning. But really, who looks like they walked out of a magazine every morning? I worked at women's mags for years, and I can tell you that even the women in the magazines don't look like women in the magazines. Which is the larger issue. The culture of "perfection" is making everyone mad.

 From the NYT: “Our children are barraged with images of ideal women and men that aren’t even real, but computer composites,” said Jean Kilbourne, co-author of “So Sexy, So Soon,” a book on teenagers and pre-teenagers. “These girls and boys can’t compete. The truth is, no one can. And it leaves teens feeling more inadequate than ever and a lot of parents unsure as to the right thing to do.”

Would you let your teenage daughter or son have cosmetic surgery?

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