Teenage Cosmetic Surgery: Why So Much Pressure?

 

There has been a storm brewing for some me now regarding teenage cosmetic surgery.  A concoction made up of quick fixes,  a society obsessed with beauty, and the commercialization and overexposure of cosmetic surgery, have all lent themselves to the growth of cosmetic surgery for  Generation  X and younger.  This has been further compounded by the increasing number of medical special best entering the cosmetic arena.

My worry is that this Generation X and their successors wanting teenage cosmetic surgery may become an abused marketplace.  It would appear that they have it a little easier, in the sense that, they have parents or relatives who have had cosmetic surgery and are approving of it, in an economy that has been both buoyant and robust for some time now.  This takes away from the fact, that teenage cosmetic surgery needs much more scrutiny because it can play on people ’s insecurities and promises of an instantly better life.

Most plastic surgeons I believe are responsible individuals with a conscience who try and counsel teenagers, usually in front of their parents, of the risks and benefits and outcomes of procedures and whether they are appropriate or not. They try very hard to show that TV programs like Extreme Makeover,  Dr.  90210  and  The Swan trivialize and glamourize cosmetic surgery and that glossy magazines like Teen Vogue or Teen Cosmo display airbrushed photos of models and celebrities that are in reality unachievable.

Now teenagers who want to have cosmetic surgery usually have different motivations and goals than adults.  They too then have cosmetic surgery to improve physical characteristics they feel are awkward or flawed,  that if lesion-corrected, may affect them well into adulthood.  Teens tend to have cosmetic surgery to fit in with peers, to look similar.  Adults tend to have cosmetic surgery to stand out from others.  Teenagers frequently gain self-esteem and confidence when their physical problems are corrected.  In fact, successful teenage cosmetic surgery may reverse the social withdrawal that satiation accompanies teenagers who feel different.  Not every teenager seeking cosmetic surgery is well suited for an operation.  Teenagers must demonstrate emotional maturity and an understanding of the limitations of cosmetic surgery.

I would caution teenagers and parents to keep in mind that cosmetic surgery is real surgery, with great benefits, but also carries some risks. Teenagers should have realistic expectations about cosmetic surgery and what it can do for them. In addition, certain milestones in growth and physical maturity must be achieved before undergoing cosmetic surgery. The most rewarding outcomes are expected when the following exist:

  1. The teenager initiates the request.
    The young person must appreciate both the benefits and limitations of cosmetic surgery, avoiding unrealistic expectations about life changes that will occur as a result of the procedure.
  2. The teenager has realistic goals.
    While parental support is lessened all, the teenager’s own desire for cosmetic surgery must be clearly expressed and repeated over a period of time.
  3.  The teenager has sufficient maturity.
    Teenagers must be able to tolerate the discomfort and temporary disfigurement of a surgical procedure.  Cosmetic surgery is not recommended for teens who are prone to mood swings or erratic behavior, who are abusing drugs and/ or alcohol, or who are being treated for clinical depression or other mental illness.

Some of the commonest teenage cosmetic surgery procedures include:

  1. Rhinoplasty (nose reshaping)

Cosmetic surgery may be performed on the nose to straighten the bridge, remove an unsightly hump, reshape the port open breathing passages. Ordinarily, this is not performed until the nose reaches its adult size –  about age 15 or 16 in girls and a year later in boys. The procedure accounted for nearly 50 percent of all cosmetic surgical procedures performed on this age group.

2.Otoplasty (ear surgery)

Surgical correction of protruding ears, in which the ears are pinned back, may be performed any time after the age of five. Otoplasty made up 11 percent of all cosmetic surgical procedures performed on this age group.

3. Correction of Breast Asymmetry

When one breast grows much larger size than the other, an opera on may correct the difference by reducing the larger breast, augmenting the smaller, or both. Many teenagers who want breast augmentation to have one breast that is larger than the other – sometimes a full cup size or more in difference. This condition is called breast asymmetry. Using a breast implant in the smaller breast allows the patient to have breasts of the same size. Although waiting may prolong the physical awkwardness, it is advisable to delay surgery until breast growth ceases in order to achieve the best result.

4. Breast Augmentation

Breast implants can be used for breast augmentation in women 18-years or older and for breast reconstruction.

Many teenagers who want breast augmentation to have one breast that is larger than the other -sometimes a full cup size or more in difference. This condition is called breast asymmetry. Using a breast implant in the smaller breast allows the patient to have breasts of the same size. Although waiting may prolong the physical awkwardness, it is advisable to delay surgery until breast growth ceases in order to achieve the best result.

5. Breast Reduction

Surgical reduction of very large breasts can overcome both physical and psychological burdens for a teenage girl.

In fact, many teenagers suffer ongoing back pain due to overly large breasts. Although waiting may prolong the psychological awkwardness, it is advisable to delay surgery until breast growth ceases in order to achieve the best result.

6. Acne and Acne Scar Treatment

Acne eruptions may be controlled by the proper use of modern prescription drugs. In addition to supervising the use of these medications, plastic surgeons may improve acne scars by smoothing or ”refinishing” the skin with a laser or with a fine sanding technique called microdermabrasion. Other treatments for acne related skin problems include laser skin resurfacing, dermabrasion, and chemical peels.

7. Male Breast Reduction (Gynaecomastia)

Teenage boys with large breasts, known as gynecomastia, are often eager to undergo plastic surgery. Surgical correction can be accomplished in a variety of ways including liposuction and/or surgical excision of the breast tissue.

As a plastic surgeon, I am an advocate for the right teenage cosmetic surgery, at the right time and for the right reason. Things like correction of prominent ears, breast reduction in adolescent boys or breast reconstruction in young girls with an underdeveloped breast can truly advance the person’s quality of life. It is our responsibility as plastic surgeons to guide teenagers (and their parents) in the right direction and to educate them that cosmetic surgery is not a panacea for the everyday pressures that teenagers’ face. Cosmetic surgery can make you more a reactive but not necessarily happier!

Question: What do you think is the commonest reason teenagers want cosmetic surgery? You can leave a comment below.

The Benefits of Breast Asymmetry Correction

Almost every woman on the planet has one breast that is fairly different from the other. For some women though, the discrepancy can be extreme with noticeable differences in size and shape between the two breasts.

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Breast asymmetry will come in different shapes and sizes, but what remains constant is the problems they cause. Breast asymmetry will not only make finding bras that fit and clothes that hide the asymmetry a hassle, but will also impact negatively on a woman’s self-esteem and confidence.

Breast asymmetry correction is one the most recurring problems I face as a plastic surgeon specialising in breasts. During initial consultations, I often find that some patients are not even aware of their own breasts being asymmetrical. To facilitate proper planning so as to improve the outcome of surgery, these differences have to be identified early in the procedure.

Breast asymmetry types

1. Congenital Breast Asymmetry.

This means that the difference in the size of your breast is innate: it is as old as your breasts and has been becoming more conspicuous with their growth and development. There are several reasons why patients have these preexisting differences between their breasts. They include:
– Differences in breast volume
– Differences in areola size and/or position
– Rib cage (chest wall) asymmetries, as in pectus excavatum or scoliosis
– Differences in the positioning of the breast fold crease.

2. Post Surgical Breast Asymmetry

There are several conditions that would lead to development of breast asymmetry several years after a breast surgery procedure has been done on a patient; an example of such an operation is breast augmentation. This conditions include:
– Capsule contracture
– The breast tissue may be drooping
– Implant position movement
– Areolas getting stretched.

Breast asymmetry correction

There are several techniques that can be used to correct this problem and help you feel comfortable and more confident in how you look.  The first and most important step in breast asymmetry corrections is the determination of the ideal breast size for you. I work very closely with my patients to help them make this essential decision. Important questions asked at this stage are; whether smaller breasts need to be enlarged with implants, or whether larger breasts should be reduced in size for example.

In some cases, the best results can be achieved by doing the same thing to both breasts. For example; a patient with very large breasts can have both reduced with one breast being reduced more than the other to make up the difference. Where the patient has small breasts, augmentation can be done on both with one being augmented more than the other. The important thing here is to make sure that the final breasts have roughly the same amount of implant volume or breast tissue after the procedure. It’s only then that you will be able to enjoy relatively same sized breasts.

Customised treatment plan

Unlike other breast cosmetic surgeries, breast asymmetry is a more difficult procedure to perform. It thus requires careful planning, thought and consideration well in advance before the procedure. This is where the surgeons experience is crucial as they will help the patient make the smallest of decisions that will together determine the overall success of the procedure. As they say: ‘the devil is in the detail.’

Since patients have several options to choose from, I take the time to go through each option with my patients. I will help the patient make the best decision by outlining the best available options for their particular condition so as to achieve the best results. Being a trusted adviser, it’s my goal to make sure that all my patients fully understand the implications their decisions will have on their well-being and to help them choose wisely.

Implant options

If we do decide that the implant method is the best solution for your problem, you will be able to get access to a wide range of implants that are guaranteed to suit your needs. We have access to the newest generation of implants available in different styles and sizes at my patients’ disposal.

Breast asymmetry surgery is one of the most challenging breast procedures. Diligence, communication and surgeon experience are all crucial ingredients for the best results.

 

Question: What do you find are the most difficult challenges with breast asymmetry? You can leave a comment below.