According to ABC News, last year over 100,000 teenage girls underwent some form of plastic surgery. Increasingly, younger women elect to undergo plastic surgery in order to increase their self esteem. While cosmetic surgery can definitely improve an individual’s self esteem and outlook, the question remains: when is a patient too young to undergo these types of procedures?
In some cases, plastic surgery in youth is reconstructive in nature or goes hand in hand with addressing medical issues. For instance, one young woman elected to have a rhinoplasty surgery alongside cosmetic surgery to correct her deviated septum. While many insurance policies cover reconstructive plastic surgery for individuals of all ages, most insurance policies do not cover elective or cosmetic procedures.
The FDA approves the use of silicone breast implants in women over 22 years of age. However, women of any age may use silicone breast implants for reconstructive purposes.
Young women’s breasts may continue to develop well into the late teens. For this reason, many plastic surgeons will not perform breast augmentation on patients who aren’t 22 years of age or older. Teenagers who choose to have plastic surgery when they are too young may not be giving their breasts time to develop normally. Furthermore, plastic surgeons generally will evaluate patients to ensure that they are psychologically prepared for the procedure. Younger women may not have had adequate time to develop emotionally and physically. Breasts change as women age and if a patient doesn’t find a skilled enough plastic surgeon, the procedure can interfere with the milk glands and impair a woman’s ability to breast feed later in life.
Teenage women who elect to undergo breast augmentation should take into account all risk factors and benefits, and, in most cases, wait until they meet FDA age requirements.
A certain degree of maturity is required before a patient undergoes any kind of cosmetic procedure. Doctors generally want to see patients who have realistic expectations about what to expect post-surgery. With younger patients, concerns about body dysmorphic disorder may also be present. Body dysmorphic disorder is a condition whereby a person obsesses over a perceived flaw, even when there may not be a flaw present. In the cases of body dysmorphic disorder, plastic surgery may not help alleviate psychological distress.
Even so, living in an appearance-centric society places pressures on young women, and some plastic surgeons report an increase in their younger patients by as much as 20%.
Plastic surgery can be a great choice for women who are psychologically and physically prepared to undergo the procedure. Many women report increases in self-esteem, well-being, and some women also enjoy other benefits including increased sexual satisfaction.
Dr. Leonard Grossman, M.D. is a plastic surgeon practicing in Manhattan and Brooklyn who has been performing breast augmentation surgery under the FDA guidelines. Since 1995, Dr. Grossman has been one of the top researchers for the Mentor and Allergan Corporations (largest producers of breast implants in the world), helping in the development of the newest silicone gel implants we use today.
If you or a loved one is interested in undergoing breast augmentation, finding a plastic surgeon with the most experience and great results is of paramount importance. Visit drgrossman.com to learn more about the many options available for breast augmentation in the NYC area.