How young is too young for plastic surgery?

plastic surgeryIs 21 too young for Botox? What about breast augmentation? Who should decide? If you’re not the one getting plastic surgery, maybe it’s none of your business when someone chooses to get work done?! Rather than being a moral decision, plastic surgery and when to get it should be based on medical reasoning.


Obviously plastic surgery for reconstructive purposes – to cover up exposed bone after trauma or reconstruct the breast after breast cancer – is accepted as being medically appropriate to save a limb or improve function, regardless of age. But when it comes to cosmetic plastic surgery, there seems to be a prevailing assumption that at a certain age, you’re too young. It really depends on the scenario.


Should you really be getting plastic surgery?

The best example in plastic surgery of when being young isn’t actually too young, is breast reduction surgery. There is a medically known process called juvenile breast hypertrophy wherein 15 or 16-year old girls develop extraordinarily large breasts that affects their shoulders and back and can affect their emotional state as well. Maybe they’re not comfortable going to school because they get teased about the size of their breasts. Maybe it’s difficult to find clothes that fit. In these cases, breast reduction surgery is very appropriate. Surprisingly enough, there are times after a 15-year old undergoes breast reduction that her breasts continue to grow and they have to have another reduction after adolescence! In regards to gynecomastia, or abnormal breast development in boys/men, ditto what was said for women who have large breasts at a young age.


If a high-schooler wants a nose job, is that too early? Rather than making this decision based on whether it’s “right or wrong,” consider that it is medically appropriate to get a nose job at the age 15 or 16 because the nose has reached it’s adult form. If the nose was still developing, you wouldn’t want to interrupt that process earlier but from a medical standpoint, 15 or 16-years old isn’t too early.


You might say, “well, if we’re waiting for the nose to fully form, why wouldn’t we wait for the breasts to fully form before performing a reduction?” The prevailing thought here is that if we wait until the breasts are fully formed, then you’ve subjected the patient to years of heavy breasts, shoulder and back pain, and the emotional trauma associated with those years of unchecked breast growth. For this reason, breast reduction surgery should be undertaken even before growth is completed whereas, you would wait before correcting a bump on a nose or a wide nasal tip.


Breast augmentation: from a medical standpoint, a girl should wait until she has achieved her secondary sex characteristics and her body has reached maturity. If the breasts are still developing, then there’s no point in committing to breast augmentation surgery since it may not ultimately be necessary. The age of decision may be 18 or 20. Again, it’s not a moral question but more about the appropriate time to intervene from a medical perspective.


Lastly, should a 21-year old be getting Botox? Probably not but not because society has deemed her as being too young. From a medical perspective, a 21-year old doesn’t typically have deep wrinkles and furrows between the eyebrows or on the forehead. But when those wrinkles do appear and the patient would feel more confident covering them up, then Botox, which is FDA-approved, safe and effective, is appropriate. So don’t judge based on morality…one day that patient may be you!


For pricing on any of these procedures from a doctor near you, click here.



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