According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, plastic surgery procedures among teens aged 18 years old and below rose from about 14,000 in 1996 to around 219,000 in 2010. Then, what could be the driving force behind such drastic increase?
Plastic surgeon Dr. Arthur Calabretta says plastic surgeries have seen growth in all age brackets in the previous 20 years. Surgeons have also seen higher demands for some teen surgeries like ear surgery, nose surgery and breast surgery.
The surgeon says he is not sure why these procedures are seeing such high demand, but he points to the media as a possible cause, saying teens want to look like the prominent people featured in magazines and TVs.
His major concern, however, is whether or not a teen has already developed, physically and emotionally. This is the reason why he has only done operations on seven or eight patients among the 15 or 16 patients seeking cosmetic procedures in the past year.
Calabretta says he usually asks his patients how much they have changed over the last years, and if they have become stable. He, together with the patient and parents, will have a long discussion on whether it is the right procedure for teens.
Calabretta stresses that cosmetic procedures do more than just a change in physical appearance. He says a lot of them get more confidence in themselves and an improved self-image. Thus, it is crucial for surgeons to be selective and for parents to discuss with their kids about the procedure.
Many teens nowadays are receiving plastic surgeries as gifts from their parents. According to Calabretta, he has done surgeries on some patients graduating from high school and going to college who desired a better appearance for the new chapter of their life.