Most of my plastic surgery patients are adults, but teenagers can undergo procedures on occasion. Not all teenagers are mature enough for plastic surgery procedures, however, a reconstructive or cosmetic procedure can be a good option for some. Before you schedule a consultation for your teenager, there are some things parents need to be aware of.
The United States does not have specific laws regarding when teenagers can undergo plastic surgery. The answer largely depends on the maturity level, development, and parents’ consent, which varies for each teen. Some procedures cannot be performed until teenagers have finished physically developing, which typically occurs at around 15-16 for girls and 17-18 for boys. Parental consent is the most important consideration and is required for any plastic surgery procedure performed before age 18. During a consultation, I will examine the treatment area, get to know your teenager, and help determine whether plastic surgery is the best choice.
While adults make up the vast majority of patients, some plastic surgeries are more common than others for teenage patients.
Otoplasty is the most common plastic surgery that I offer for patients under 18. Also known as ear pinning surgery, otoplasty is often performed on children as young as four or five years old. Otoplasties reshape the ear by removing a small amount of cartilage for a less prominent appearance. These procedures can be performed as soon as the ears complete development, which occurs very early in life. Teenagers frequently request otoplasty if they feel the ears are disproportionate with their facial features. They may have uncomfortable memories of being bullied for their ears through childhood and are ready to move on from these experiences and feel a new sense of confidence.
Breast reductions are an option for some teenagers. Excessively large breasts can cause significant issues like back, neck, or shoulder pain, chafing, and more. They may also make it difficult for teenagers to participate in their favorite sports or find clothing that fits properly. Finally, large breasts may be a source of self-consciousness. While a majority of breast reductions are performed for patients who are over 18, some teenagers do have the procedure at an earlier age to relieve pain and discomfort.
Finally, breast augmentation is an option for some 18-year-olds. Saline breast implants are FDA-approved for patients 18-years-old or older. While these patients will not require parental consent, their younger age often means they will seek their parents’ guidance regarding the procedure.
If your teen is interested in plastic surgery, there are some things you should be sure of before you schedule a consultation. First, it’s crucial that teens are the ones to initiate interest in the procedure. It is never appropriate for parents to suggest plastic surgery first, as this can cause unnecessary self-consciousness for the child. For example, if the parent struggled with prominent ears that they later passed down, it is entirely possible that the teen is not bothered by the appearance. You should also check that your teen’s concern is not the result of a peer’s suggestion or other outside pressure. Plastic surgery is a personal decision, whether the patient is a teen or an adult.
Next, you should make sure your teen understands the procedure, recovery period, and potential risks. While plastic surgery is generally considered safe, patients must be prepared for some downtime and understand what will be required of them through their recovery. This is important so they can avoid any unnecessary complications. They should also be specific about their goals for the procedure. During a consultation, I can review these points with your teen to help determine whether they are a good candidate.
To learn more about your plastic surgery options, schedule your consultation at Mountain Lake Plastic Surgery. Call (802) 231-4284 or contact us online.