Journal of Adolescent Health, October 2008
By Diana Zuckerman, Ph.D and Anisha Abraham, M.D., M.P.H.
Two of the most popular and controversial cosmetic procedures for adolescents are liposuction and breast implants. It this review article, the procedures are discussed. In addition, the physiological and psychological reasons to delay these procedures, including concerns about body dysmorphic disorder and research findings regarding changes in teenagers’ body image as they mature, are described. The lack of persuasive empirical research on the mental health benefits of plastic surgery for teenagers is highlighted. Finally, the long-term financial and health implications of implanted medical devices with a limited lifespan are presented. Adolescent medicine providers need to be involved in improving informed decision making for these procedures, aware of the absence of data on the health and mental health risks and benefits of these surgeries for teenagers, and understand the limitations on teenagers’ abilities to evaluate risks.
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