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Cosmetic Surgery: How Young Is Too Young?

174566773Everyone knows that teenage years are tough, and those years can be even tougher when a physical trait causes embarrassment, self-consciousness or low self-esteem. Teens who want to correct a perceived imperfection are growing in numbers, and many think of cosmetic surgery as a solution. But there are limits on which procedures are appropriate for patients under the age of 20.

Teens and Breast Procedures

While saline breast implants are only approved by the FDA for women age 18 and older (and silicone gel implants only for women 22 and older), breast reduction may be an appropriate procedure for female and male teens. No teenager wants to struggle with an embarrassing difference that sets him or her apart from a peer group and which may even be a significant source of discomfort.

Factors to Consider

Critics argue that it is simply a bad idea for minors to alter their bodies. It is certainly true that having cosmetic surgery requires a level of emotional maturity that younger patients may or may not possess during their teen years. In fact, Germany recently announced plans to implement a ban on plastic surgery for minors in response to a rising number of teens having plastic surgery in recent years. Even in the U.S., plastic surgeons will require that teenagers have reached full physical maturity before performing plastic surgery, and need to make the critical judgment call of whether the patient is emotionally mature enough for the procedure they are considering.

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