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One of the concerns about plastic surgery on adolescents is that their bodies are still maturing.In addition to development that may occur in the late teens, growth charts indicate that the average young woman gains weight between the ages of 18 and 21, and that is likely to change her desire or need for breast augmentation and liposuction.
In addition to the influence of persuasive and pervasive advertising and television makeover programs that stimulate demand, it is difficult for a physician to neutrally present both the risks and benefits of an elective procedure that he or she is simultaneously selling.
Requiring parental consent for patients under 18 does not ensure informed consent, since research is lacking on long-term risks for many cosmetic procedures.
Currently, there is no evidence that effective screening is widespread.
Teens expect that plastic surgery will improve their self-confidence, but does it?
Liposuction also carries potentially serious risks, including infection, damage to skin, nerves, or vital organs, fat or blood clots (that can migrate to the lungs, leading to death), and excessive fluid loss that can, rarely, lead to shock or death.
Liposuction is also associated with eating disorders and distorted body image.Most women who get breast implants have at least one serious complication within the first three years, including infection, hematomas and seromas, capsular contracture (a sometimes painful hardening of the breasts), loss of nipple sensation, and hypertrophic scarring.Since breast implants typically last 10 years, an adolescent will require repeated surgeries throughout her lifetime.Cosmetic genital surgeries, designed to make genitals look “better” or to improve sexual satisfaction, are increasingly popular.The surgeries include labiaplasty, which reduces the size of the labia and vaginoplasty, which tightens the vagina.In 2015 alone, 7,840 girls and young women between the ages of 13 and 19 underwent breast augmentation surgery, with an additional 1,797 teens receiving breast lifts.Silicone gel breast implants were approved by the FDA in 2006, but only for women ages 22 and older.Research is especially needed for the more controversial procedures such as breast implants, liposuction, and genital plastic surgery.There is no question that reconstructive surgeries can benefit children and youth.(For more information, see Facts about Breast Implants.) In addition to physical and psychological risks, the economic costs of breast implant surgery are substantial, since corrective surgery is rarely covered by health insurance.Many plastic surgeons offer breast implants on an installment plan, and women who need to have a broken or painful implant removed are sometimes unable to afford corrective surgery because they are still paying for the initial augmentation surgery and unable to afford corrective surgery.