Low self-esteem among teenagers is nothing new but in recent years many teens have turned to plastic surgery to address their perceived flaws and boost their confidence. An expert at Baylor College of Medicine explains the importance of knowing the facts and consequences before going through plastic surgery.

“Teenagers may seek plastic surgery as a way to deal with their self-esteem issues, which often begin when kids start comparing themselves to others or when other kids start pointing out differences,” said Dr. Shayan Izaddoost, associate professor of surgery at Baylor. “Teenagers want to fit in, and when they stand out they start feeling embarrassed and ashamed.”

The most common procedures among teens are breast augmentations, breast reductions, ear surgeries, and rhinoplasties (nose surgery), he said. Breast augmentations are especially common after teenagers finish high school and get ready for college.

When a teen is considering plastic surgery, it is very important that both the parents and the child are on the same page, Izaddoost said. “We need to make sure that the child is not pushing the parents and, in turn, that the parents are not pushing the child.”

As a plastic surgeon, Izaddoost puts great effort into finding solutions other than plastic surgery for teenagers. He makes his recommendations based on several factors, including analyzing if the problem is correctable without surgery and making sure that the target of surgery is not something that with time the teenager will grow out of.

“If the person can do something such as exercise to correct the problem and avoid surgery, I encourage and advise them to do it,” he said. “However, not everyone’s case is the same and if there is no other option other than surgery that can solve the issue, my goal is to explain and help patients understand the consequences and what surgery will do for them.” 

After a careful evaluation, the surgeon has to make the decision based on the situation and the impact of the surgery, Izaddoost said. It is essential to counsel the parents and teenagers to help them have a clear understanding of the risks and benefits, he added. People often think that getting plastic surgery will solve their problems and forget about the recovery period and the possible complications.

“For example, breast augmentation is not a surgery that you can go into lightly because having breast implants puts you at a high chance that you will need to have a second surgery down the line,” he said. “If you plan on having kids, your body will change and the implants can move and look different. It is important to take all these factors into consideration, and that can be difficult for a child.”

It is of vital importance for young men and women to be informed of the facts and consequences of plastic surgery.  

“Any decision you make, for a person that young, is something you will have to live with for the rest of your life,” he said.