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ANALYSIS | THE AGE DEBATE |


PLASTIC SURGERY: ONLY FOR


AESTHETIC GROWN-UPS? Forty-two percent of otoplasties performed in the US are for people


under the age of 18 years. Elective plastic surgery in teens has long been a source of controversy, posing ethical and societal questions. But there are conflicting views on whether case numbers are actually rising. Ashley Yeo reports


A


ASHLEY YEO, Principal Analyst, Informa Business Information


email ashley.yeo@ informa.com


12 ❚


DULTS OVER A certain age who opt for facial or other plastic surgery for aesthetic reasons are rarely questioned about their


rationale. If it’s about low self-esteem, they are generally supported, be it by friends, family or the medical establishment. They are rarely prevented from taking their chosen course of action. If it’s about standing out from the crowd, then that’s acceptable too. For children and low- to mid-teens, the


opposite is true, although the motivation of a child feeling victimised over his/her appearance to the point of seeking appearance-altering cosmetic surgery is the same as for adults. And probably felt with greater urgency. This is not about the powder keg argument surrounding too-young girls seeking breast augmentation, but the distinct debate as to whether aesthetic plastic surgery should ever be for children.


November/December 2012 | prime-journal.com


Hitting the headlines The issue hit the news in the US again in autumn 2012, when New York non-profit group Little Baby Face Foundation agreed to pay the otoplasty surgery costs of one 14-year-old girl who had suffered taunts from classmates for a number of years. Otoplasty adjusts the shape of the


cartilage within the ear to create the missing folds and to allow the ear to lie closer to the side of the head. It can be carried out under local anaesthetic, and the procedure leaves a small scar close to the groove between the ear and the side of the head. For some, the procedure is clearly


preferable to looking 'too different' from the crowd. The story about the US teen received large media coverage in the UK and Australia, as well as the US. It portrayed a young girl victimised at school by fellow pupils. She believed her facial features had marked her out for torment (although a subjective view might consider them not at all extreme, see: http://tinyurl.com/9tlt8xl) .


MOST COMMON


PROCEDURES FOR TEENS (US)


Rhinoplasty Otoplasty


Breast asymmetry surgery


Breast reduction Acne treatment Gynaecomastia Breast


augementation


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