KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
From Botox and fat injections to liposuction, cosmetic surgery has soared in the last two years. Doctors tend to credit the aging baby boomer generation for fueling the explosion.
But teens 18 and younger are among the fastest-growing patient groups. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons says doctors performed nearly 332,000 procedures on the young last year, a 48 percent jump over the previous year. The boost has come in part from the popularity of such television shows as "Extreme Makeover," "The Swan" and "I Want a Famous Face."
Laser hair removal and acne treatments are often warranted at that age, the society says. They may increase self-esteem. Nose jobs have long been the most popular. They are sometimes combined with breast augmentation, another procedure on the rise, says the Washington Post. But here is the zinger: Young people are also getting Botox injections and liposuction.
The high numbers have set off alarms in the medical field. Wrinkle treatments and liposuction are not appropriate for teens because their facial structure is still changing, according to a spokesman for the American Society for Dermatology Surgery. And their bodies have not stopped growing.
Teenage girls who might be obsessed with their looks may not have a reality perspective or understand the long-term effects of surgery. And cosmetic treatments may send the wrong message about what's important.
In short, the step should not be taken on a whim.