There are plenty of reasons for young people to want cosmetic surgery. Some of the most common procedures for patients under 18 include rhinoplasty and otoplasty, among others. For the most part, procedures for this demographic are focused on correcting health concerns or abnormalities that may be affecting the patient’s confidence. If you (or your child) are thinking about these or any cosmetic plastic surgery, there are three important questions to ask first
What are my goals?
Cosmetic surgery can help patients gain confidence and self-esteem, but it’s important that any patient wants to have plastic surgery for themselves, not for any other person or standard.
We know there are a lot of pressures and expectations for young people’s appearance that trickle down from celebrity culture and social media that can feel immediate and overwhelming. We advise our young patients (indeed, all of our cosmetic surgery patients) to make sure their goals are personal and specific to their health and confidence, and not any other beauty standard.
What are my expectations?
It’s important to remember that while plastic surgery can create dramatic results by making your appearance more balanced or symmetrical, the ultimate goal of any cosmetic surgery is to make you feel like your best self. There’s no one size fits all! The basic architecture of your face and body can only be altered a small amount, and it’s the small adjustments that make all of the difference.
Consider consulting with a plastic surgeon during your decision making process. Many surgeons offer a free consultation, during which you can discuss your goals, and the surgeon can let you know about any limitations to the available procedures, and help you set realistic expectations based on your existing features and your goals.
Am I ready for cosmetic surgery?
A consultation is also a good opportunity to learn about the risks of plastic surgery, as well as the demands of recovery. Young people must be aware that in most cases, they will have to halt physical extracurricular activities, in some cases for several weeks, and that they might experience noticeable bruising and swelling for some time, too.
In addition to the emotional maturity necessary to make this decision and follow through with a safe and deliberate recovery for best results, young patients must consult with their doctor to make sure the feature they would like to operate on is fully developed and therefore operable.
Lastly, it’s important to establish routines that will maintain your new confidence in your features for years to come. We advise all young people, whether they choose to move forward with cosmetic surgery or not, to consult with a licensed aesthetician or board-certified dermatologist to set a skincare routine that will help them preserve the quality of their skin and facial features, as well as protect them from harmful skin damage like melanoma or other skin cancers.