Kylie Jenner has been receiving a great deal of media attention for her alleged plastic surgeries. According to some media sources, Jenner (17), has had breast augmentation, an eyebrow lift, lip injections, chin implants, and jaw reshaping. While some of these reports are unconfirmed, Jenner’s media storm raises the question about the age appropriateness of certain cosmetic procedures.
According to the Fashion Times, Jenner’s look has inspired some teens to seek out cosmetic surgery at a young age. Yet, some surgeons warn that the use of injectable products like Botox before the age of 18 poses some unique risks. Generally, these products should only be used in children if there is a physical deformity that must be corrected. While individuals can receive multiple Botox treatments, starting too young can lead to a build-up of tolerance over time and loss of effect.
According to WebMD nose reshaping, or rhinoplasty is the most common form of plastic surgery performed on teens. While the surgery can create a dramatic difference in a person’s look, how old should a teen be before it is appropriate to have the surgery?
Medical professionals will generally wait until a teen’s nose has reached its adult size. For girls, this occurs usually around age 16, while for boys, this can take longer. Rhinoplasty can remove unsightly lumps or bumps, and reshape a nose to make it straighter. Additionally, the surgery can correct an unusually large nose.
The surgery also can have medical benefits as well. For teens with narrow nasal passages, the surgery can improve the teen’s ability to breathe and perform better at sports and other physically demanding activities.
Parents and teens also need to consider the risks associated with the plastic surgery. Any surgery comes with the risk of scarring or nerve damage. Additionally, if the surgery is performed too soon, revision surgery may be required to make additional corrections.
Teens are under increased pressure to achieve a certain look and this can create an unhealthy motivation to go under the knife too soon. One psychologist credited Jenner’s family, possible sibling rivalry, and the need to compete for the public eye as reasons why Jenner might have felt the need to go under the knife so early in life.
For some surgeries, teens should wait. For instance, the F.D.A. has approved the use of saline breast implants only in individuals over 18 years of age, and silicone implants are only approved for use in individuals over 22 years of age. Only in cases of breast deformity should teens seek out breast augmentation at a younger age.
In general, younger patients should carefully consider their motivations for seeking out plastic surgery. A teen’s judgment isn’t always the same as that of an adult. Having a procedure at too early an age can also set the stage for further procedures, which may or may not be beneficial.
Younger patients should always consult with a skilled plastic surgeon before having any procedure performed. Dr. Leonard Grossman, M.D. is a plastic surgeon in NYC highly skilled in performing plastic/cosmetic surgery. While some patients consult at a young age, many may choose to wait until later to have surgeries performed. Seeking qualified medical advice is the best first step for any plastic surgery candidate.