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Is Cosmetic Surgery For Adolescents Advisable?

Apr 16, 2008
While ten or fifteen years ago cosmetic surgery was only available to the rich and famous, it is rapidly becoming the norm for many members of the general public. Also it seems as if the age of people willing to go under the knife is getting lower. A few years ago a girl who wanted cosmetic surgery, more precisely breast implants at the age of sixteen, made headline news, now it is rapidly becoming the normal. Seemingly the adolescent issues many youngsters have can be quickly remedied by a trip to the surgeon.

The reason so many youngsters are deciding to undertake cosmetic surgery is complex and hard to define. One surgeon has claimed that there is simply an increased visibility with so many people now having cosmetic surgery. While before it was just the famous, now teenager's parents are regularly heading to the surgeon to adjust their appearance. The media has also made cosmetic surgery a far more viable option by publicising the different operations available; blaming the media however can be seen as a knee-jerk reaction.

The common question of 'what would you have done?' is often bandied around the dinner table and as such has entered the consciousness of not only teenagers, but adults as well. It is important to be objective however; cosmetic surgery is a relatively common phenomenon and as long as procedures are carried out safely there is no real problem with people improving the way they look. Whether or not they need it is down to their own body image.

Teenagers however are notorious for having a poor body image and seemingly cosmetic surgery is the quick and easy answer. While it may be a quick fix, surely there are ways to improve self esteem without going under the knife? But a teenager should not be able to possess the thousands of pounds it costs to have cosmetic surgery. In this respect, surely it is the parents who have a responsibility to educate their children if their self esteem is low. This however is not always possible, and can be seen as hypocritical, especially when the parent has undergone surgery themselves.

The benefits of cosmetic surgery are clearly there, if problems of self esteem focus on a particular part of the body it may be worth altering this body part. This can be essential for some who have serious problems with their facial features. If someone has large problems the benefits of cosmetic surgery can be truly life changing, completely boosting confidence and the way in which they carry out there day to day life. Such processes can be breast asymmetry and the readjustment of jaw lines.

Responsible cosmetic surgeons take into account the psychological effects of any surgery and will evaluate patients on how they may react to these effects. The key principle is to make an assessment based upon a patient's physical, emotional and psychological maturity. By the assessment of these factors it is possible to evaluate the viability of surgery of any particular patient. Of course if the patient fails to impress on the surgeon a sense of maturity it should be unlikely that surgery may go ahead. There are of course unscrupulous operators that may ignore these principles in favour of massive earnings, thankfully these are few and far between.

So for those who may want to undergo cosmetic surgery it is worth considering the reasons behind your decision and whether these will be acceptable to a surgeon. Responsible surgeons will take on those who have the maturity to deal with surgery and who have good reasons for going under the knife.

Careful deliberation is essential, especially in younger patients. If it is possible for the patient to see past the adolescent period, and the social pressures to conform, surgery may not be the answer. That said if it is a severe deformity or an operation that will be truly life changing cosmetic surgery may bring great benefits.
About the Author
Medical expert Thomas Pretty looks into the issues surrounding adolescent cosmetic surgery and the moral considerations that must be made.
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