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You may be one of the many who experienced a “what is this world coming to?” moment when you heard about the South Dakota girl who recently had cosmetic surgery on her ears. It was the youngster’s age that gave many people pause: she’s just seven years old.
Then there was the ABC Nightline program a few months ago highlighting teen plastic surgery. The show reported that thousands of teens “…are so deeply dissatisfied by what they see each year that they try to permanently change the image reflected in the glass; through plastic surgery.”
A quick Google search will return articles claiming that more and more teens are seeking cosmetic surgery, that parents routinely give their kids a procedure as a gift, and so on. It’s no wonder that many people believe plastic surgery rates for kids are growing at an alarming pace. But it’s not so. In fact, says the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the reverse is true.
In a recent press release the ASAPS stated that their 2010 statistics show a decrease in the overall number of surgeries for those aged 18 and younger. The total number of cosmetic procedures performed on kids in 2010 was about 125,000, less than half the number performed ten years ago. And when you exclude non-invasive cosmetic treatments, the number of actual surgeries is much smaller: 33,610.
Otoplasty—surgery to pin back the ears—is the most popular choice for kids when it comes to cosmetic surgery with over 40 percent of the total. Next is rhinoplasty, accounting for nearly 7 percent of surgeries.
Breast augmentation numbers, which some might suspect would be climbing for teens, remain low at just 4,153. This number represents just 1.3 percent of cosmetic surgeries for children.
Of the teen girls choosing breast augmentation, less than half the surgeries are for simply enlarging both breasts. According to the ASAPS, here are the other leading reasons girls opt for breast surgery:
- Severe asymmetry (19 percent)
- Severe underdevelopment (11 percent)
- Congenital absent breast (10 percent)
- Tubular breast deformity (10 percent)