Cosmetic Procedures Up Overall, Steady for Teens

Rhinoplasty, Breast Reduction, Hair Removal Most Popular Procedures Among Teens

Medically Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on August 03, 2010
From the WebMD Archives

Aug. 3, 2010 -- The number of cosmetic surgeries performed is rising overall, but the percentage of people aged 18 and younger choosing cosmetic procedures has remained relatively unchanged over the past decade. That’s according to a trends report of 2009 statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).

The report showed that the most common cosmetic plastic surgical procedures for teens were rhinoplasty or nose reshaping, followed by breast reduction, correction of breast asymmetry, gynecomastia, in which breast development occurs in boys, and chin augmentation -- often performed with rhinoplasty to achieve a balanced look in the face. The most common nonsurgical cosmetic procedures among teens were laser hair removal and chemical peels.

Among the report’s other findings:

  • There were 145,094 procedures in 2000 performed on people aged 18 and younger, representing 2.5% of the total; in 2009, there were 203,308 procedures representing 2% of the total.
  • Last year, there were 2,953 breast augmentations performed on people 18 and under or 0.9% of the total number of breast augmentations performed, suggesting teens are carefully screened prior to undergoing the procedure.
  • Lipoplasty procedures, or lip enhancement, declined between 1997 and 2009 from 2,504 to 1,559, respectively.


Cosmetic Surgery Guidelines

Nearly 10 million cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures were performed nationwide among all age groups in 2009, a 147% increase from 1997, when tracking of the data first began. Botox is the most common nonsurgical procedure -- and tends to be performed on older patients -- and breast augmentation is the most popular surgical procedure, according to the ASAPS.

For teens, cosmetic surgery, both surgical and nonsurgical, may provide a positive effect on physical and emotional development, says the ASAPS. However, all patients, and teens especially, must undergo a careful screening and evaluation.

ASAPS guidelines encourage physicians to:

  • Evaluate a teen’s physical maturity, because operating on a structure not fully developed could interfere with growth.
  • Evaluate the teen’s emotional maturity and discuss realistic expectations with the patient.

ASAPS guidelines also encourage patients and their families to:

  • Check credentials. Patients should look for American Board of Plastic Surgery certification, and if the physician operates at a private practice, the practice should be formally accredited. Surgeons should also have operating privileges at accredited area hospitals for the same procedures they offer at outpatient settings or private physician offices.
  • Discuss the risks and recovery times. Teens and their families should be informed of and understand the risks associated with surgery as well as any physical limitations during the postoperative recovery times.