Elective plastic surgical procedures in adolescence

Adolesc Med Clin. 2004 Oct;15(3):487-502. doi: 10.1016/j.admecli.2004.06.005.


Adolescent patients are seeking plastic surgery to correct deformities or perceived deformities in increasing numbers. It is essential for the physician to understand the influence of perceived body image irregularity that motivates patients of all ages to request plastic surgery. The increased demand for plastic surgical procedures among young patients is caused partially to increased media exposure to the available procedures offered by plastic surgeons. A successful aesthetic procedure can have a positive influence on a mature, well-motivated teenager, while surgery on a psychologically unstable adolescent can be damaging to the patient. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has developed guidelines for the appropriate selection of teenagers for aesthetic plastic surgery [26]. First, the physician must "assess physical maturity, because operating on a feature that has not yet fully developed could interfere with growth or negate the benefits of surgery in later years." Second, the physician should explore emotional maturity and expectations of the teenager. The teenager should understand the goals and limitations of the proposed surgery and have realistic expectations. Third, only board certified plastic surgeons who operate in accredited facilities should perform these procedures, to ensure the safety of the teenager and the quality of the procedure. Finally, teenagers and their parents should understand the risks of surgery, postoperative restrictions on activity, and typical recovery times. The referring physician and surgeon must be aware of the positive or negative effects that plastic surgery can have on the life of a teenager and be able to select patients who have the motivation, maturity, psychosocial, and emotional attributes that will lead to patient satisfaction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Development
  • Body Image
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Elective Surgical Procedures / psychology
  • Elective Surgical Procedures / trends*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Selection
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / psychology
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / trends*