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Under Aged, Under Informed

When is cosmetic surgery the right choice for a teen?

(press release from ASDS)

Whether it's a 16-year-old girl requesting laser hair removal, or a 14-year-old boy receiving Botox injections for excessive sweating, any cosmetic procedure is still a medical process and should be treated as such, especially by teens. Television shows and celebrity admiration has influenced teens to endure cosmetic surgery without hesitation or acknowledgement of risks. How then do parents know if and when a cosmetic procedure is appropriate for their teen? According to Roy Geronemus MD, a past president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), "No matter what the procedure is that teen's desire, precautions must be considered to ensure a safe and successful outcome."

To educate parents and teenagers on how to make an informed decision regarding cosmetic procedures, Dr. Geronemus and the ASDS recommend the following:

Dos…

  • Do carefully review all reasons why cosmetic surgery is desired: Procedures should be considered to correct genetic or acquired physical scarring or disfigurement, or for conditions that dramatically impair a teen's sense of confidence and self-esteem.
  • Do use alternative methods to avoid unnecessary procedures: Teens should be sure that cosmetic surgery is the only solution. For example, liposuction to reshape problem areas like thighs and hips, may be successfully treated by increasing exercise, which is proven more effective in patients under 18.
  • Do make sure procedures are safe and effective for teens under 18: Procedures such as laser surgery for acne scars are proven successful for younger teens, however, liposuction and breast augmentation are discouraged for anyone under 18, because their body has not stopped growing yet.
  • Do choose a certified dermasurgeon to perform/supervise the procedure: Always be sure that the doctor is board certified in dermatology, and can perform any type of skin- related procedure. Undergoing a procedure at the hands of an unqualified physician or non-physician can lead to infection, scarring and permanent body damage. To located a qualified dermasurgeon in your area www.asds-net.org/find.html

Don'ts…

  • Don't undergo a cosmetic procedure on a whim: Elective surgery is sometimes chosen based on a trend or a fad among teens, or undergone as a "caught up in the moment" decision. Teens need to realize that there is more to cosmetic procedures than what is perceived on television and through the media.
  • Don't rely on a procedure to increase popularity: It's not uncommon for teens to believe that by enhancing their appearance they may become more popular among their peers or get someone to notice them- but this isn't reason enough to undergo a serious surgical procedure.
  • Don't think any procedure is risk free: Even the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures carry side effects such as redness, swelling and pain. More serious complications can include infection, permanent scarring and sometimes death.
  • Don't view cosmetic surgery as a solution to a larger issue: Anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorders are increasingly common among teens. Parents should be on the look out for these conditions and assist their children in seeking professional help from a trained specialist before considering any cosmetic procedure.

     

If you would like to speak with Dr. Geronemus about teens and cosmetic surgery, feel free to contact Jennifer Garber at (203) 325-8772 X 18 or jgarber@Environics-usa.com


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