When most people mention cosmetic facial plastic surgery, they think about face lifts, Botox® injections, or any of the many procedures that can be used to address the signs of facial aging. However, as advancements in plastic surgery techniques and technology have made procedures more safe and effective, there has been a growing trend of adolescents seeking facial plastic surgery procedures as well. According to statistics published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 63,538 cosmetic surgical procedures were performed on people age 13-19 in 2014, while 160,541 cosmetic minimally-invasive procedures were also performed. Adolescence is a critical period of development both physically and mentally, and self-image can play a vital role in long term happiness and well-being. Anything that can help improve that self-image, like correcting imperfections in the facial features, can go a long way towards improving a patient’s quality of life for years to come.
The single cosmetic plastic surgery procedure most commonly performed on patients between the ages of 13 and 19 is rhinoplasty, or nose surgery. In fact, procedures to reshape the nose account for more than half of all adolescent facial plastic surgery procedures performed in the United States. Rhinoplasty procedures require a great deal of surgical skill and experience in order to perform well, as the folds that make up the nose can be extremely intricate and complex and procedures performed before the nose is fully grown can potentially hinder the nose’s ongoing development1. However, as a board certified plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist (head and neck surgeon) with more than 25 years of experience, I have worked extensively with the anatomical structure and developmental characteristics of the face and have developed insights that lead to exceptional rhinoplasty results.
Many adolescent patients are also interested in other plastic surgery procedures to subtly improve the contours and balance of the facial features. Otoplasty, or ear surgery, can help improve the shape, position, or proportion of the ears by correcting defects in the ear’s structure that were present at birth or caused by injury. By the same token, genioplasty, or chin surgery, can either shape and reduce or augment the size of the chin through various techniques to complement the other features of the face and enhance a patient’s profile. By using natural cartilage and bone taken from the patient’s own body, I can achieve long-lasting, natural looking facial contouring results.
Non-surgical cosmetic procedures have proven to be extremely popular with younger patients as well. In 2014 nearly 100,000 teens sought out laser skin resurfacing treatments to either correct skin imperfections (like acne, acne scars, and irregular pigmentation) or to remove hair. The Sciton® Erbium laser uses light energy to gently exfoliate the upper layers of skin, removing dead and damaged skin cells while encouraging collagen production like a chemical peel to treat severe acne, post-trauma scarring, and pigment irregularities.
While any of these procedures can be safe and effective for teen-aged patients, any adolescent prospective patient should have an honest, open discussion with their parents about their concerns and aesthetic goals. From there, a thorough preoperative evaluation and discussion of expectations, along with computerized imaging to help avoid the misunderstandings that lead to postoperative disappointment, is an absolutely essential first step before undergoing any cosmetic plastic surgery procedure. If you are interested in discussing what approach would be best suited to your teen’s specific needs, I would welcome you to contact me, Dr. Fernando Burstein, to schedule a consultation. Don’t forget to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest facial plastic surgery news.
- Burstein, F.D., Bauer, M.D., Bruce S.: “Primary Aesthetic Rhinoplasty in Adolescents: Indications and Techniques.” Principles and Practice of Pediatric Surgery. Quality Medical Publishing, Inc. St. Louis, MO., Vol 2, 34:945-966, 2008.