How young should some one be before they are ready to have cosmetic surgery? According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports “the number of girls eight-teen and younger getting cosmetic surgeries, such as breast augmentations has nearly tripled from 3,872 in the year of 2002 to 11,326 in the year of 2003“ ( Farrell 1 ). The increasing number of teenage girls under twenty having cosmetic surgeries should be aware of the risks, know that their bodies aren’t ready to go under such procedures and that they should not allow the media or low self-esteem influence their decisions.
One cause for teens participating in cosmetic surgery is because the media portrays an unreality view of beauty. Magazines such as Teen Vogue and Seventeen has a big influence on the surgery. Together photographers and magazine editors alter the pictures of models. They change the models’ body appear to make them “picture perfect. ” These “picture perfect” changes include airbrushing, enhancing the size of their breast, or taking inches off of their waist in seconds.
“ All sorts of editing, and manipulating can go into the final photo that teens see in magazines…“ (Palmer 1).
When teenage girls turn the pages of magazines and see these slim perfect bodies on every page they get the idea that their suppose to look that way too. The images teens see in magazines are not the only visual that influences them the increasing popular TV shows Brown 3 like Extreme Makeover and The Swan help with the unrealistic view of beauty. “Most experts agree that popularity of TV shows like the Swan or Extreme Makeover are to blame foe this rise in teenage plastic surgery; that and the constant commercials bombardment of these so called perfect looking Teen-Idols that create unreal expectations in these young minds. (www. ebreastaug. com)
These TV show make cosmetic surgery seem simple, and encourages adolescents to pursue surgery to improve their physical appearance. “Teens see the perfect people in magazines, movies, and TV and don’t realize these are not real situations. “ (Palmer 2) These ideas that teenage girls have in their mind is that beyond skinny is how they need to be, which causes them to a low opinion of themselves. Many people would never think of a mother influencing their daughters to have cosmetic surgery, but some do weather they realize it or not.
Young girls sometimes hear their mother saying that talk about their weight or how unhappy there are with their bodies. In a survey “More than half of girls said their mothers “worried and moaned’ about her own weight. While a third said they were attractive or beautiful, 15% said they thought they were “very unattractive” and 7% “yuk” (Horton). These dissatisfied mothers tell often joke about getting plastic surgery and how it would fix all of their problems their daughters may think that’s a way to fix their problems, too.
Self-respect is confidence in your own value as an individual which goes hand in hand with your self-esteem. Low self-esteem pays a large role in teens getting cosmetic surgery. “Teenagers who are thinking about having plastic surgery to change the way they look are often addressing issues of self-esteem,” says psychotherapist Dorothy Brown 4 Ratusny. “Between the ages of 13 and 19, there’s a lot of emphasis on peers and what others think of you. It’s also a time when things such as not being part of the popular crowd, changes in financial situation and divorce can negatively affect a teenager’s self esteem.
Teenage girls that feel their bodies are not how they want them to be use cosmetic procedures as a way to change their appearances and believe these changes will help them feel better about them selves. “If teens feel inadequate before surgery, they will most likely feel disappointed afterwards. “ ( Bietz 1). In reality having cosmetic surgery doesn’t help their self-esteem; in some case the teenage girl may feel worst about herself or even realize that she was perfect the way she was before the surgery. Teens that do undergo these cosmetic procedures need to know that some decisions can’t be reversed.
Many teens idolize a celebrity, which is normal, but wanting to be or look like one is a different subject. Some teens bring in a picture of a celebrity and allow the doctor to show them how they may be able to have features more like the celebrity. Many cosmetic surgeons discourage anyone wanting to look exactly like anyone else. “This is unrealistic and may indicate a more serious problem like Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). BDD is the inability of an individual to see how they appear. ” (Palmer). People who have BDD tend to have a distorted view of themselves meaning they don’t see themselves the ways other people do.
These teens believe that cosmetic surgery will solve their physically problems, but looking like some else doesn’t help them figure out who they are. Brown 5 “One of the concerns about plastic surgery on adolescents is that their bodies are still maturing. In addition to development that may occur in the late teens, growth charts indicate that the average girl gains weight between the ages of 18 and 21, that is likely to change her desire or need for breast augmentations as well as liposuction. ” (Zuckerman 1). A teenager’s body may not be fully developed until they reach 18 or maybe even 21.
With that said some cosmetic surgeries, not all but most, can interfere with the body’s natural growth. No matter how much a teenager may want breast augmentations, liposuction, or cheek implants, which are considered inappropriate operations for teens, they should know the health risks they are taking. Some plastic surgeons believe that for some teenage patients cosmetic plastic surgery can benefit their physical and emotional development but, many experts tend to question how appropriate some procedures are for a teenager.
Appropriate operations for teenagers would include rhinoplasty, otoplasty, breast reduction, and chin augmentation, while inappropriate operations are breast augmentations, liposuction, and cheek implants. Plastic surgeons sometimes have a check list the go by to pick the appropriate candidates for a cosmetic surgery. “”The key thing is to have the parent involved and have a mature young person,” Soler-Baiilo says. “ I spend at least an hour interviewing and asking questions like ‘Why are you doing it?”” (Farrell).
Many plastic surgeons don’t agree with a teenage who want surgery to be done so young. When evaluating a possible candidate for plastic surgery the surgeon may go as far as asking what shoe size you wear and who long its been your size. Surgeons don’t always go on how physically developed the teenager is but, also how mature the teenager is mentally. The surgeon wants to make Brown 6 sure that the teen doesn’t have “unrealistic expectations” with the results of the surgery.
A plastic surgeon wants to be sure that the person he/she is performing on is both mentally and physically ready for such a dramatic change in their life. Even if a surgeon is willing to perform plastic surgery on a teenage girl, she should still know the risks she is taking. “Critics say the timing couldn’t be worse for an adolescent, who is unhappy with their looks. They say teenagers are too young and short-sighted to comprehend the long-term affects of surgery, particularly the risks…” (Farrell 2).
When in surgery a number of things could go wrong, that can lead to irreparable damage. “Michael Wasserman, MD, a staff pediatrician at Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans, tells WebMD that the risk of cosmetic surgery is often not fully understood by either the teen or the teen’s parents. ”There is always a risk associated with surgery and I think this needs to be clearly communicated. ““ (Peck) With any procedure a young person is having there is always the risk of scarring or infection, which can lead to an early death.
Liposuction, for example, has serious risks; it can cause infection, damage to skin, nerves, or vital organs, fat or blood clots, and excessive fluid loss. Breast augmentations not only carry the risk of infection but also, the risks of hematomas and seromas, capsular contracture, loss of the nipple, and hypertrophy scarring. Getting breast augmentations also “interfere with mammography and increase the likelihood of insufficient lactation when a woman tries to breast-feed. These risks are more likely to affect a teenage then a fully developed women, there are also some risks that apply to everyone.
These risks would include a drop in blood pressure, loose sutures, and Brown 7 complication with the anesthesia. With teenage girls knowing these risks, would they still consider plastic surgery? Teen not only have to worry about the risk they are taking, but the cost of the cosmetic procedure, too. How is a teenager going to afford the high price of the cosmetic procedure? That is a question every teen wanting a cosmetic procedure has got to consider. Insurance doesn’t cover the cost of cosmetic surgery and depending on the surgery it could cost from $ 200 to $ 20,000 or more.
Many teens pay for the surgery themselves and that is a very costly investment for a person so young. For some procedures like breast augmentations the implant that is inserted has to be replaced every ten years after the surgery that can add up to 80,000 or more depending on the size of the implant and the age in which the teen got them. A young woman named “Kacey Long, who got D- sized implants three years ago at 19. A few weeks after her surgery, Long says she began experiencing shooting pain in her arms, followed by intense joint pain and crushing fatigue.
Last year, her parents took out a $6,400 loan to pay for removal surgery, a procedure documented on MTV’s “I Want a Famous Face. ”” (Farrell). The cost of cosmetic surgery is a big one and a teen wanting I should know how they are going to afford it and if it is really worth the money. American teens now account for 4% of the plastic surgery market in the U. S. — that translates to 346,000 cosmetic procedures in the past year. It is sad how so many teenage girls look for cosmetic procedures to change the physically appearance and believe it will help improve their self-esteem.