Do Teens Get Plastic Surgery?


The quick answer is yes. But the number of teens who opt for plastic surgery is not huge.

This leads to the bigger question – should teens get plastic surgery? Many surgeons won’t perform procedures on patients under the age of 21. And there are many reasons for this.

Then there are procedures that some surgeons will perform but only if they’re absolutely certain that it’s the best option for the teen.

Why Do Teens Get Plastic Surgery?

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), most teenagers seek out plastic surgery because they are desperate to fit in but feel their appearance is not acceptable to their friends and peers.

For example, young men who have embarrassing excess breast tissue (gynecomastia) that won’t resolve with proper diet and exercise may seek out a breast reduction. Or teenagers who are ashamed of birthmarks in obvious places may inquire about laser treatments to lessen their appearance.

Some teens struggle with severe acne that results in pocks and scars that leave them self-conscious and prone to isolation. A cosmetic procedure known as dermabrasion can help to smooth out or camouflage those scars. And for teenagers with birth anomalies such as ears that stick out, some surgeons will perform surgery to pin back ears known as otoplasty.

Important Considerations

As with any surgery, the option to perform plastic surgery on teens should be heavily weighed. In many cases, it’s simply not appropriate. There are many things to consider:

  1. Teenagers Are Still Growing

It’s normal for teenagers to criticize their appearance. But it’s important to remember that they are still changing and growing. So even if a teenager feels his nose is too big or her breasts are too small, there’s a good chance that they will become more proportionate as they grow into their adult bodies.

  1. Changes in Exercise and Diet Could Help

It’s often not easy to get teenagers on board with regular exercise and dietary restrictions. We get it. For teenagers struggling with weight issues, they may think that liposuction or even a gastric bypass is a better option and a nice, quick fix. They’re sure much easier than sticking with a diet and exercise regimen.

Any parent considering this needs to understand though that ethical doctors know the risks involved with these procedures and reserve them for extreme cases when other options have failed.

  1. Self-Consciousness Is Part of Teenage Years

Feeling dissatisfied with one’s appearance while having it feel like a monumentally big deal is part and parcel of the teenage years. And teens don’t realize that a lot of this will go away with time. Of course, even as adults most of us have some part that we’d like to change. But by the time we’re adults, we’re doing it for ourselves and not for someone else. This is an important distinction.

  1. There Could Be Mental Issues

This is a big one.

Teenagers see a distorted version of themselves. If this already inaccurate view is further exacerbated by depression or other emotional issues, teenagers are quick to believe that ‘looking better’ will solve their problems.

There is no plastic surgery procedure that can fix underlying mental issues.  Plastic surgeons are well aware of this and many won’t perform plastic surgery on any patient – teenage or otherwise – until such mental issues are addressed first with a therapist or other mental health expert.

It’s Up to the Surgeon

Ultimately, once a parent has conceded, the choice as to whether teens get plastic surgery comes down to the surgeon. Many feel that it’s best to wait until the body is fully formed.

But again, it depends on the person and the procedure.

So if you’re considering plastic surgery – whether for you or someone else – contact us today to speak with our ethical surgeons who will lead you in the right direction.