Young patients might consider cosmetic surgery for many reasons. Among patients under 18, common procedures include rhinoplasty to reshape the nose, otoplasty to address protruding ears, surgery for gynecomastia, surgery to correct asymmetric breasts, and breast reduction.
Here are three questions to consider if you are a young patient who wants cosmetic surgery:
Why do I want cosmetic surgery?
While cosmetic surgery can help young people gain self-esteem and confidence, the decision to have surgery should be made thoughtfully. Young patients must want to have cosmetic surgery for themselves, not for anyone else. Certainly, patients should talk with their parents or guardians about the benefits and risks of surgery.
What are my expectations for cosmetic surgery?
Young patients should consider the limitations of surgery. It is important to avoid unrealistic expectations about physical or life changes that may occur after surgery. Young patients must also be mature enough to understand the risks of surgery and tolerate the recovery process. Recovery from surgery can be uncomfortable and results may not be immediately noticeable.
Am I ready for cosmetic surgery?
In addition to being emotionally mature, young patients need to reach certain milestones in physical maturity before getting cosmetic surgery. Rhinoplasty is often performed after the nose reaches adult size, which happens at age 15-16 in girls and 16-18 in boys. For breast reduction, it is advisable to wait until breast growth finishes, which typically happens between ages 12-19. Otoplasty can be done after age five, once the ears have stopped growing.
After considering these questions, young patients who want cosmetic surgery should consult a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss their goals, expectations, and the process of receiving and recovering from cosmetic surgery.