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Can Teenagers Get Plastic Surgery?

Teenager for procedures
Dr. Phillip Chang

Dr. Phillip Chang

Board Certified By The American Board of Plastic Surgeons.
Voted Top Plastic Surgeon in Loudoun, Virginia
Offices in Leesburg, Virginia.

Realself Verified Doctor

“Plastic surgery for teenagers? Now that’s absurd!”

In general, this is the common opinion. With the rise of social media and celebrities getting procedures done has caused a huge rise in the number of teens wanting plastic surgery, it’s easy to see how many plastic surgery ideas for teenagers are merely fads that don’t reflect actual necessity. 

However, for other teenagers, plastic surgery is a very viable option. The teen years are marked for many with insecurity and body image issues — and for some teens plastic surgery can be life-changing for the better. However, as a parent, it is important to know the risks of such surgeries and the pros and cons of teenagers’ common procedures.

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Should Teenagers Get Plastic Surgery?

As a general rule of thumb, teenagers should not get major plastic surgery until they are legally adults. However, some circumstances allow teenagers to get plastic surgery, and often it can help the teenager greatly. Some of the more common exceptions are listed below: 

  • The teenager has a feature that is not considered “standard” and is thus suffering from self-esteem issues, bullying, or social issues. (For example, this young teen received an otoplasty for his protruding ears, which he previously wore a headband to cover.)
  • The teenager suffers from pain, discomfort (physically, mentally, socially), or inconvenience due to the feature. (For example, teen boys who suffer from gynecomastia receive breast reductions at young ages).
  • Corrective issues that require plastic surgery for adjustment, such as nose reconstruction for improved breathing or eyelid lifts for impaired vision.
  • The teenager’s overall well-being would improve. Skin treatments for acne and other skin issues, laser treatment for excess hair growth or birth marks/moles, or MiraDry for excessive sweating.

Rhinoplasty for Teenagers

Rhinoplasties, or nose jobs, are the most common plastic surgery in teens. Insecurities and bullying are one of the main causes of the rhinoplasty’s popularity. A nose job can help a teen feel more confident and comfortable, but other factors must be considered as well such as nasal development, singing/voice development, and healing time.

Nasal reshaping is most commonly performed after nasal growth is finished, usually between the ages of 15-16 in young women and ages 16-18 in young men. It also has a decently long healing period, between 6-8 weeks, so the teen must be committed to laying low for this time.

There is also the non-surgical rhinoplasty, which is used to re-shape the nose with fillers. As such, it is not a permanent nor exceedingly drastic change, although can make all the difference in the world. For teens, this can be the preferred option until they are of age to undergo a full rhinoplasty if they wish.

With rhinoplasties, as with any cosmetic procedure, the request must come from the child. An adult should never suggest it first.

Breast Reductions for Teenagers

Another popular procedure in teens is breast reduction. This procedure helps a lot of girls fix neck, shoulder, and back pain. It can also help if the breasts are affecting daily activities negatively. However, doctors recommend waiting on this procedure until breast growth is complete, which can be as late as nineteen. Also, if the girl has desire to one day be a mom, it is worthy for her to consider how a breast reduction may affect motherhood since most women opt for reductions after they’ve had all children.

Another reason for a breast reduction is in young men suffering from gynecomastia, as briefly mentioned above. This is an overgrowth of breast tissue in males. For most boys, as they mature, this condition can go away. But for some, it’s worth it to get the procedure to help them get through their teen years. This can be done using ultrasonic liposuction, which is minimally invasive.

Breast reductions can also be used solely for cosmetic reasons, such as to achieve a more even, natural look, but this is generally less common.

Ear Surgery - Otoplasty

Another procedure briefly touched upon above that can be useful for kids and teens is otoplasty. Otoplasty is the pinning or reshaping of ears. This procedure can be performed when ears are near full maturity, which can be as young as age 6. Otoplasties can help boost confidence and reduce bullying, as they make large or protruding ears appear less conspicuous. For some teenagers, this is life-changing.

Nonsurgical Options for Teenagers

However, not all procedures offered to teenagers are invasive. Dermal procedures such as laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion are increasing in popularity. These can help reduce acne scarring and create a softer, smoother look.

Teens who suffer from excessive sweating or excess hair growth can opt for laser treatments, such as MiraDry or Laser Hair Removal. Both of these options are safe for teenagers, non-invasive, and can help those suffering from bullying, excessive inconvenience, or discomfort.

Recently, the demand for dermal fillers has risen dramatically due to their popularity among celebrities and influencers. The pouty lips and full, defined cheeks sported by almost every celebrity prompt teens to turn to fillers to achieve this look. However, these types of procedures can be dangerous if not performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, and most doctors do not recommend the use of fillers in patients under 18. So overall, fillers can usually wait.

Together, the parent and child must weigh the pros and cons of such procedures and decide whether the benefits outweigh the risks.

Weighing up the Options Together

Cosmetic procedures in teenagers can be helpful in increasing confidence during the hard teenage years. They can also be beneficial for medical reasons, such as back pain, and can improve quality of life. However, all procedures must be researched thoroughly by parent and teen to determine whether it is the right decision. Before deciding that something is right for your teen, make sure that he or she is fully mature and able to understand the risks that come with any surgery. Make sure that the teen is the one initiating the request for surgery, that they understand what a cosmetic procedure entails, and that they are committed to the recovery, and you and your teen together may find that a procedure is the right choice for you.

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Want to Learn More?

If you are a teenager or parent of a teen who is considering a cosmetic solution, we invite you to come in for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Chang or one of the cosmetic laser and injection nurses to explore whether you would make a good candidate. To find out more about whether Aesthetica can help you, contact us online or at 703-729-5553 to arrange an appointment. Dr. Phillip Chang is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Northern Virginia near Leesburg, Virginia, and an expert in a wide variety of cosmetic treatments.

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