A survey by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) found that more than half of members (58 percent) saw an increase in cosmetic surgery and injectables in patients under age 30. For both female and male patients under age 35, the most common procedure performed was rhinoplasty (53 percent females; 70 percent males), with 20 percent of those procedures performed on patients under age 21.
The study also revealed that according to surgeons, a majority of youths opt for facial plastic surgery as a result of bullying (76 percent), rather than as a preventative measure (24 percent). “In this digital age driven by social media and celebrity images, cyber and schoolyard bullying are leading many of today’s teens to turn to plastic surgery as a cure,” says Manhattan facial plastic surgeon and AAFPRS member Sam Rizk, M.D. The constant torment and resulting self-esteem issues are driving some teens to go under the knife, with over 90,000 adolescents a year electing to have plastic surgery.
Not every youth is a candidate, however. Eligibility depends on important factors such as the age of the child, his or her maturity level, and other individual factors. “As the face of plastic surgery gets younger, parents and teens should take care to select a board-certified surgeon who specializes in plastic surgery of the face, head and neck,” says Rizk. “Children under the age of 10 are often eligible for cosmetic ear surgery (otoplasty), but those interested in having rhinoplasty should wait until they are about 15 (girls) or 18 (boys) when the nose is fully formed and their feet have stopped growing.”