The teen years are difficult across the board, but especially for those who stand out physically, perhaps with a large nose or gynecomastia. When it comes to cosmetic surgery for teens though, the issue is tricky and many feel that teenagers should wait until they become adults to go under the knife. However, with the right approach, cosmetic surgery can be a rewarding and helpful experience for teens.
"Our goal is to follow all appropriate steps before surgery," says New Jersey plastic surgeon Dr. Paul Parker. "We don't rush anyone, particularly young patients to the operating room. We carefully evaluate and educate them to make sure that surgery is a good option that will be beneficial to them." Children and teens can be cruel to those with physical differences and it can take a great psychological toll on teens and damage their self esteem.
Rhinoplasty results of Dr. Paul Parker
Certain cosmetic procedures are more appropriate than others. A 16 year old girl who is not yet finished growing but wants a breast augmentation is likely not a proper candidate for that procedure. However, a 16 year old girl with very large breasts who would like them reduced is likely a good example of a good teenage patient who will truly benefit from breast reduction surgery.
Dr. Parker's office, the Parker Center, makes a point treat the whole patient, physically and psychologically. He says that, "The value of this approach is to make sure that surgery is the right answer for the particular patient involved." Taking the team approach, Dr. Parker consults with the teen and their parents, ensuring the patient is emotionally mature enough to handle the surgery and has realistic expectations regarding its outcome. Often, the team communicates with the patient's pediatrician and may consult a psychologies to rule out issues with depression or deeper psychological issues. If these are present, Dr. Parker may recommend counseling for the teen before resorting to surgery.
The most common procedures for teens are rhinoplasty, otoplasty, breast reduction, breast augmentation and male breast reduction. "These teenagers and young adults have replaced the negative thoughts as they look in the mirror with positive ones," says Dr. Parker. "It is very cool to see their emotional changes evolve over the course of the following year as we conduct our follow-up appointments."