Teenage Cosmetic Surgery Essay

2599 words - 10 pages

To many, the notion of a teenager undergoing plastic surgery is appalling and unbelievable. For others, such as eleven-year-old Julia, a nose job was able to help her lead a happier and more normal life. To eighteen-year-old Kristen a breast augmentation is a traditional rite of passage of the family. She claims that she “just wanted to look normal,” and that after surgery, she does. (Sweeny, 2009) In these types of cases, cosmetic surgery can be beneficial to the confidence of teenagers in what Ann Kearney-Cooke calls “an epidemic of low self-esteem among girls.” (Sweeney, 2009) Whether it is a physical deformity, such as protruding ears, or simply a lack of something that other peers have, such as large breasts, cosmetic surgery can help teenagers cope with self-worth in a world where beauty is ridiculously selective. However, aside from the confidence-boosting possibilities resulting from teen cosmetic surgery, there are many reasons why it should not be taken lightly for an adolescent. Although cosmetic surgery can potentially be beneficial, there are also many extreme risks for teenagers, including medical complications and in some rare cases death, and thus should be solely a last resort after meticulous analysis for serious cases. Furthermore, neither the adolescent brain nor body is even fully developed.
The purpose of cosmetic surgery in adolescents is to enhance their appearance by altering a displeasing physical feature through surgery. While first looked down upon with alarm, as technology and greater understanding spread, it became more widely accepted and the number of procedures tripled and even quadrupled within fifteen years. (American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 2011) Cosmetic surgery on adolescents has been performed over 200,000 times in 2010 alone and is most popular in ages 13 to 19. (ASPS, 2011) While ranging from double eyelid surgery to a toe tuck, plastic surgery has all types of purposes, but the most popular in teenagers are rhinoplasty (nose job), otoplasty (protruding ear correction), and various breast modifications, such as augmentation and reduction. (ASPS, 2011) In 2010 alone, rhinoplasty in itself has been conducted over 35,000 times on teens, and breast alterations have been done on more than 15,000 teens. (ASPS, 2011)
Regardless of substantial health risks and complications, many teenagers are undergoing cosmetic surgery. The primary reason is low self-esteem, resulting from bullying, messages in the media, and body image. A rise in bullying over the past few years is a major cause of low self-esteem. Bullying can result in severe anxiety and frustration, as well as extreme consequences directed inwards or outwards, such as suicide or a school shooting. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is, in fact, the third largest cause of death among young people and for every suicide there are at least 100 suicide attempts. One in four teens and 60 percent of middle school students...

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