Though a rise in elective cosmetic procedures for teens might be heralded on ABC News (more than 200,000 performed in 2009 according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons), there’s more to the story. The less glamorous side of elective surgery centers on procedures that can medically improve a patient’s life, whether they’re 15 or 50. For teens struggling with a variety of medical issues from protruding ears to overly large, often painful breasts, age-appropriate procedures are available to help make their lives easier, rather than simply giving them a cuter nose.
Despite the fact that part of puberty includes the growth of breasts, some teen girls may experience rapid breast growth, resulting in overly large breasts. Oftentimes, overly large breasts can present medical issues, like back and shoulder pain or possible infection. In this case, breast reduction surgery is available to teens, much like it is to adults, as a way to make the effects of puberty more tolerable. In a breast reduction surgery, a combination of liposuction and skin, fat and tissue excision are used to reduce the size and shape of the breasts.
For teens who struggle with overly large or protruding ears, an issue often apparent in early childhood, otoplasty can provide relief. When performed, an incision is made behind the ear and the surgeon manipulates the cartilage to reshape and reposition the ear.
If a teen struggles with breathing issues not attributed to conditions like asthma, they may suffer from a deviated septum, a malformation in the cartilage of the nose that inhibits breathing. In this case, a septoplasty surgery can be performed to correct the issue. Under septoplasty, the surgeon works through the nostrils to reshape the cartilage to allow for easier breathing.
While some teens or parents may worry about the loss of school time due to surgery (recovery times can be up to a couple weeks), these procedures can actually be performed during summer break. Additionally, by having the procedures performed while away from school, the patient can worry less about other students noticing an immediate change in their body. When the patient returns to school, other students will simply see a happier, healthier classmate and assume they heeded the advice in their yearbook to “Have a great summer!”
To learn more about these and other cosmetic procedures that can improve the health of teens (with parent permission, of course), contact Dr. Aboolian in his Beverly Hills practice.