Washington Post Examines Increase in Number of Cosmetic Surgeries Among Teenagers
The Washington Post on Tuesday examined how the "enormous popularity" of reality television programs -- such as "Extreme Makeover," "The Swan" and "I Want a Famous Face" -- has "fueled the desire of adolescent girls" as young as age 14 to "alter their bodies permanently" through cosmetic surgeries, such as breast implants, liposuction and "tummy tucks." Rhinoplasty remains the most common cosmetic surgery among teenagers, but between 2002 and 2003, the number of girls ages 18 and younger who received breast implants increased from 3,872 to 11,326, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Although "there is no prohibition against performing implant surgery on patients younger than 18," some surgeons "say they are reluctant to do so in part because many girls may still be growing," the Post reports. According to the Post, surgeons make decisions on whether to perform cosmetic surgery on a case-by-case basis and attempt to identify inappropriate candidates, such as those who seek procedures "to please someone else" or who have "deep-seated" psychological problems.
Opponents maintain that teenage girls are "too young and shortsighted to understand the implications" of cosmetic surgery, such as the risks of breast implants and the long-term maintenance required, the Post reports. In addition, several physician groups in the past few months have "warned teenagers and their parents against resorting to major surgery as a quick fix for popularity or self-esteem," the Post reports (Boodman, Washington Post, 10/26).