Give the Gift of Confidence for Graduation
High School graduations are right around the corner. For the graduate, it’s a time of excitement for what the future holds. Parents, teachers and mentors will be offering these students advice to “find their passions,” “reach for the stars,” “experience the real world with confidence.” It’s an intimidating time for most kids, especially those who already suffer with low self-esteem. Most parents want what’s best for their child as they begin their journey into adulthood. Making life easier for them may be as simple as a graduation gift of confidence.
Plastic surgery among teens may have become a graduation gift trend over the past few years but it shouldn’t be considered without a great deal of research and preparation.
The motivation and goals of a teenager are usually quite different from those of an adult. A teen needs to feel accepted and haven’t reached the maturity to deal with their self-consciousness. It’s difficult to fit in when you have physical characteristics that are awkward or flawed. The last four years of their lives may have been fraught with anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. If the problem isn’t corrected, these feelings could affect them well into adulthood.
Cosmetic patients between the ages of 13 to 19 typically are concerned with a misshapen nose, protruding ears, or severe acne and scarring. When these physical issues are addressed, self-esteem and confidence grows. Plastic surgery statistics show that parents are willing to help and are supportive of their child’s choices when it comes to their physical appearance. According to American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) statistics, 63,538 cosmetic surgical procedures were performed on people age 13-19 in 2013, while 180,541 cosmetic minimally invasive procedures were performed. 
Not every teenager is a candidate for a plastic surgery procedure. It’s best if the individual has the emotional maturity to handle the changes that will occur. Also, an understanding of the limitations of plastic surgery is desirable. Teenagers and their parents should keep in mind that plastic surgery, although beneficial, also carries some risk, as does any type of surgery. In addition, certain milestones in growth and physical maturity must be achieved before undergoing plastic surgery.
The most common plastic surgery procedures among teenagers are:
- Rhinoplasty (nose reshaping)
The plastic surgery performed on the nose to straighten the bridge, remove an unsightly hump, reshape the tip or open breathing passages. Ordinarily this is not performed until the nose reaches its adult size – about age 15 or 16 in girls and a year later in boys.
- Otoplasty (ear surgery)
The surgical correction of protruding ears, in which the ears are pinned back, may be performed any time after the age of five.
- Acne and Acne Scar Treatment
Acne may be controlled by the proper use of modern prescription drugs. Plastic surgeons may improve acne scars by smoothing or “refinishing” the skin with a laser or with microdermabrasion.
My suggestion for a successful surgical outcome is to listen to your child. When they repeatedly express a desire to take this step, when they are realistic about their goals for the procedure and when they are both physically and mentally mature to handle the post surgical period of healing, then you can consider scheduling a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon.
 American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 2014 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report, www.plasticsurgery.org.