5 Signs Your Teen May Be Ready for Plastic Surgery

Posted March 31, 2014 by Paul M. Parker, M.D., FACS

Sunny Day PortaitChoosing to have plastic surgery is a big decision for anyone, but for adolescents, it’s especially important to ensure they are both physically and emotionally ready to benefit from a procedure.

If your teenager has expressed interest in having cosmetic surgery, how do you know if he or she is ready to talk to a plastic surgeon? While the answer is unique for every parent and child, the following are signs that cosmetic surgery may be worth considering:

Your teen—not you or anyone else—is the one who wants plastic surgery. It’s important that your teen has your support if plastic surgery is what she wants, but you should not get the feeling she’s being talked into the idea by anyone else—her friends, a boyfriend or even a physician.

She wants to have plastic surgery for the right reasons. Teens often want to fit in; this includes having a body that is well-proportioned. They may feel self-conscious about having protruding ears, overly large breasts, or an unusually shaped nose. Plastic surgery can help correct these issues and restore more natural proportions, which in turn brings about positive changes in self-image.

However, be wary if your teen’s desire for plastic surgery seems to have come on suddenly. Make sure that this isn’t a reaction to a current beauty trend or because someone else she knows had surgery and seems happier now. In our experience, the best teen candidates are those who have had consistent, lasting desire to change a particular aspect of their appearance, regardless of outside influences.

He understands what is and isn’t possible with plastic surgery. Make sure your teen has realistic expectations about what cosmetic surgery can achieve, which is improvement, not perfection. The goal of surgery is not to help him look like someone else, but to make changes that enhance his own natural appearance. If your teen is under the impression that having plastic surgery will make him instantly popular or solve all of his problems, this is a sign that he isn’t emotionally ready for surgery.

She has matured enough physically to have the procedure. For a safe surgery and successful outcome, patients must have finished developing in the area they want to change. For ear pinning surgery, this can be as young as age 5 or 6. For most other procedures common with teens, such as rhinoplasty or breast reduction, patients usually need to wait until they’ve reached the end of puberty. Your pediatrician can help determine if your child is ready to undergo a plastic surgery procedure from a physiological standpoint.

Your teen is willing to take time out of life for recovery. Any surgery will require some recovery time, which for teens often means missing out on school, sports or other social events. Many teen patients choose to have surgery during their summer vacation, when they can recover while school is out and return in the fall for the new school year, a natural time for teens to make a fresh start.

Once you and your teen have decided to look into plastic surgery, the next step is to consult with a plastic surgeon. Look for a board certified plastic surgeon who is experienced in the procedure your teen is considering and familiar with the special needs of teen patients.

Plastic surgery can have tremendous benefits for the right teenage patient, helping to improve one’s appearance and self-confidence. If you have any questions about plastic surgery for teens, contact us. We’d be happy to help.

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