Teen plastic surgery is on the rise. In 2000, approximately 306,000 people 18 and younger got plastic surgery compared to 335,000 in 2003. Teens often view plastic surgery “as a way to fit in and look acceptable to friends and peers” (Plastic Surgery 2004). Julie Smith, a 19-year-old girl, says, “Teens want plastic surgery because the teenage years are a very insecure time. If they see something on their body they don’t think is pretty or typical among their peers, they want to change it to be accepted” (Smith interview). While some teenagers use plastic surgery to change a part of their body that makes them feel uncomfortable some also change because they have a physical defect. Although having plastic surgery for a physical defect happens, it is not common as Julie states, “I do not know any other teenagers that had plastic surgery for a physical defect. I do know teenagers who had plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons” (Smith interview).
Television shows influence teenagers desire to get plastic surgery. Shows like Dr. 90210 and I want a famous face emphasis the point that plastic surgery will change your life. These shows are “far from reality” (Plastic Surgery 2004). Teens need to understand that everyone has insecurities and surgery is not a quick fix to those insecurities. Teens need to realize that “changing your physical appearance is not going to change your attitude” (Smith interview). Attitude and appearance are two separate things. Plastic surgery needs to be taken seriously.
Personally I think that plastic surgery in teens is risky, but if done in the older teens it can be acceptable to do. When a person is young they could make the wrong decisions in changing their physical appearance. Once a teenager reaches about 16 or 17 years old I think they can decide for themselves what would be a reasonable change, and what would be too drastic. I have wanted a nose job ever since I was five years old. The only thing stopping me from getting one is money. I do not want a nose job because I was teased in school or judged by my peers. I want it because it is something I have been self-conscience about my whole life and I want to smooth down the bump to improve my self-esteem. Julie has wanted a breast enlargement for the past five years. With time her passion to get the surgery has died down, so it is a good thing she did not get it at a young age. When plastic surgery is done in the later teenage years and is taken seriously it can be acceptable.
Smith, Julie L. Telephone interview. 29 July 2006.
Izenberg, Paul H. "Plastic Surgery." Teens Health. Oct. 2004. 29 July 2006 <http://www.kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/body_image/plastic_surgery.html>.