I recently saw a young woman, 17 to be exact, for consultation regarding cosmetic surgery. Â I was struck with the power of plastic surgery and the sense of responsibility to use it wisely. Through the years I have performed various cosmetic procedures on teenagers and have found it to be emotionally rewarding experience.The most common procedures include breast reduction, breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, otoplasty and occasional liposuction. Mind you, Baltimore is not like LA or Miami, where I am told that teenage plastic surgery “goes wild”. On the other hand, Baltimore has teenagers that face all of the challenges found in any other large city. The pressures of fitting in and feeling part of the norm are probably never felt more acutely than during teenage years. We are living in a fast paced world where if you are not moving forward witht the group you are falling behind. For better or worse judgements are sometimes made on appearance and our bombardment from the media not so subliminally tells us what is beautiful and what is not.
On the surface, plastic surgery performed on teenagers may seem like simply caving in to the times. Not only is it “unnecessary” but perhaps “unnatural”. I would argue Â the opposite. Â Under the right circumstances, plastic surgery on teenagers can be a most liberating and life changing experience on a person. Most of these patients have spent several years with either physical or emotional ailments directly related to their concern. The patients I see are keenly aware of what is “normal” and why they are “not”. They are uncomfortable in their own skin and are searching simply to be “normal”. Kudos to their parent(s) who have the courage to go outside of their own comfort zone to support and help their children.
So what does this have to do with me? Simply that I enjoy watching these “children” blossom after the weight has been removed. With the risk of sounding melodramatic, there is no bigger reward than to watch a person of any age come out of their shell and become productive, self confident and happy. Having that person be a teenager is no exception. Plastic surgery is certainly not a magic bullet that “cures all that ails ye” but it is a powerful tool that can do wonders.