Your Kid May Want a Nose Job in Addition to a New Backpack for Back to School

plastic surgeryFor teens, back to school often means back to body image issues -- so it's no surprise to hear that some kids even feel the need to go under the knife before summer is over. What is a surprise, however, is how many teens are choosing to get plastic surgery: about 64,000 every year!

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And according to experts, much of that work is done over the summer (which makes sense -- there's ample time for recovery, and there's always the chance that the other kids will just think you magically grew and/or shrunk over vacation). And among the most common teen cosmetic surgery procedures at the moment are nose jobs at #1, breast implants, and lip injections (thanks, Kylie Jenner!). 

Dr. Matthew Schulman, a Park Avenue plastic surgeon who claims to get up to 10 emails a week from teens looking for plumper lips and bigger breasts, blames celeb culture for the spike:

"Between social media and reality television, nobody thinks twice about plastic surgery anymore, and it trickles down to the teens," he says.

The volume of requests he gets from kids currently was "virtually unheard of five years ago," he adds.

More from The Stir: Why Kylie Jenner Can't Deny Her Face Has Changed

Yikes. That's not to say that Schulman or doctors like him indulge every appearance-altering request that comes their way; Dr. Sam Rizk, a Manhattan-based facial plastic surgeon who specializes in nose jobs, says he frequently turns patients away "if they have unrealistic expectations, or they are not mature enough to really know what they want and to understand the process."

"I also won’t operate on a teen who has a good-looking, functioning nose and doesn’t really need anything done," says Rizk. That said, he feels that in certain cases, plastic surgery has the potential to "remove stress" and "increase feelings of self-worth" for teens. So what's a parent to do when their teen comes begging for back-to-school lip injections??

Personally, as the mother of a 14-year-old daughter (and two younger boys), I feel like I would only agree to plastic surgery for my kid if there were some sort of serious physical problem -- but that's easy for me to say, because none of my kids absolutely hate any of their body parts at the moment. If one of my kids was getting bullied because of the size or shape of his or her nose -- and there were also, say, sleep or sinus issues to consider -- I might (MIGHT!) consider plastic surgery as a solution (if I also magically had thousands of dollars to drop on the procedure). But lip injections or breast implants? Nah. Those are definitely things that can wait until adulthood (or possibly forever). They're not necessary, for one thing, and there's always a risk of infection or something going wrong. Plus, I'd rather focus on other ways of building my kids' self-esteem -- ways that don't put such an emphasis on physical beauty. (A breast reduction is another procedure that falls into the "maybe" category for me, as large breasts can cause back problems and such, so it's more of a health thing.)

Of course every parent needs to decide what's best for their kid, and I wouldn't judge anyone for trying to help their child feel better about herself (or himself). But wouldn't it be great if our kids could feel great about themselves no matter what they looked like? 

Hey, a mom can dream!

 

Image via pyotr021/iStock

 

 

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