February 19, 2024 | Uncategorized

How Young Is Too Young For Plastic Surgery?

plastic surgery procedures

When planning for plastic surgery, legal, ethical, and medical factors should be considered. Age is also a big factor, as there has been concern about what age is appropriate for getting reconstructive or cosmetic surgery. 

Understanding Plastic Surgery

  • Plastic surgery is a medical field focused on altering the human body. It aims to enhance or restore one’s appearance. This broad term covers two main categories: cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.
  • Cosmetic procedures are elective, aiming to improve aesthetic appeal. Reconstructive surgeries fix abnormalities from birth defects, injuries, or disease types that share a goal: boosting confidence through physical changes.


Different procedures fall under the umbrella of plastic surgery. Let’s explore some:

  • Cosmetic Surgeries: These include popular choices like liposuction, facelifts, breast augmentations, and rhinoplasty (nose jobs). They aim for visual enhancement.
  • Reconstructive Surgeries: These address functional impairments due to congenital disabilities or trauma recovery. Examples are cleft palate repair and scar revision surgeries.

There’s a rise in minimally invasive options offering quicker recovery times than traditional methods. The choice between these depends on individual needs and desired outcomes.

Popularity Trends

  • The younger generation has been hooked on plastic surgery due to strong influence from social media platforms where people are showcasing the pros of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Plus, the fact that safer surgical techniques are offered makes their desire stronger. 
  • Regions experiencing significant growth in demand include Asia and North America.
  • This surge reflects changing societal attitudes towards cosmetic enhancement as a form of self-care.

Legal Age and Consent

Global Standards

Parental Consent

  • In many regions across the globe, minors need parental consent for plastic surgery until they turn 18.  Guardians have a role in decision-making processes for underage individuals considering such operations.
  • There are exceptions.
  • Reconstructive surgeries due to birth defects or injuries do not always have an age limit.
  • Procedures like otoplasty (ear pinning) can sometimes be performed on younger children without strict age restrictions because they address significant functional or psychological concerns.
  • Guardians must weigh the pros and cons before making a decision:
  1. Pros: Potential enhancement of self-esteem; correction of physical issues causing discomfort.
  2. Cons: Risks associated with surgery; potential regret or dissatisfaction with outcomes as teenagers’ bodies continue developing.

Understanding that each case is unique is essential when discussing elective procedures for minors or teens with guardians involved in the process.

Psychological Impacts


  • Many people link the desire for plastic surgery to how they see their bodies. They think changing their appearance will boost their self-esteem. But, it’s not that simple.
  • Plastic surgery can indeed make someone feel better about a part of their body they’ve long been unhappy with. For example, someone might feel more confident after rhinoplasty if they’ve always been self-conscious about their nose.
  • However, expecting surgery to fix all self-esteem issues is unrealistic. It’s important to know that deeper psychological factors often play a role in how we perceive ourselves. Surgery won’t solve these underlying issues.
  • Before deciding on plastic surgery, professionals recommend a psychological evaluation. This helps ensure the person’s expectations are realistic and emotionally healthy.

Mental Health

  • The impact of plastic surgery on mental health is significant but complex. While some find positive changes post-surgery, others may face challenges.
  • Mental health screening before undergoing plastic surgery is crucial. It can reveal if someone has unaddressed psychological conditions that need treatment first.
  • People with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) obsess over perceived flaws in their appearance, which might be minor or nonexistent to others. Using plastic surgery as a first resort for BDD can worsen the condition.
  • Instead, therapy and medication are often more effective starting points.
  • Post-surgery depression is another potential issue.
  • Not everyone feels instant joy after cosmetic procedures.
  • The recovery process can be tough, both physically and mentally.

Ethical Considerations

Surgeon’s Responsibility

  • Surgeons have a critical role in the realm of plastic surgery, especially concerning minors. They have an ethical duty to refuse procedures that are unnecessary for young patients. This responsibility extends beyond mere physical assessment to include evaluating the psychological readiness of these individuals. It is crucial for surgeons to discern whether a minor’s desire for change stems from deep-seated issues that surgery cannot resolve.
  • Informed consent is another cornerstone of ethical practice in this field. Before proceeding with any surgical intervention, surgeons must ensure that both the patient and their guardians fully understand the risks, benefits, and viable alternatives to the procedure at hand. Such transparency helps foster trust and ensures decisions are made with all parties’ best interests at heart.

Societal Influence

  • The standard of beauty is becoming more and more complicated; that’s why more people are getting hooked on body modification. People want to fit in with society by following trends and typical looks that fit the category of standard beauty and the only way to make this possible is to get plastic surgery. 
  • Despite the pressure, society is still promoting self-contentment, so people can accept their appearance as is and still feel confident about it. 

Appropriate Age for Procedures

Non-Surgical Options

Fillers and Botox are popular non-invasive procedures that can enhance one’s facial appearance or body. The pros of this procedure are that they have low downtime and still get temporary solutions to body insecurities. 

For instance, wrinkles can be instantly eliminated with just one or two sessions of non-invasive cosmetic procedure. 

These non-permanent solutions provide a way to explore aesthetic enhancements without the long-term commitment of surgery. Advancements in technology have improved the safety, effectiveness, and range of non-surgical techniques available. 

From reducing wrinkles to contouring the jawline, these methods can address various concerns.

Check out more non-surgical procedures

Surgical Procedures

When considering surgical procedures such as liposuction, rhinoplasty, or breast augmentation, age plays a crucial role. Each procedure has its own recommended age based on physical maturity and psychological readiness.

  • Liposuction for instance, is recommended for patients who have issues burning fat deposits despite making efforts through exercise and diet. 
  • For rhinoplasty, the recommended age is 18 years old for boys and 16 years old for girls,as this is the age where facial growth is already complete. 
  • Breast augmentation is recommended for women over 18 when breast development has typically finished. For breast augmentation, fully developed breasts are good candidates, so women 18 and up can get this procedure. 

It’s important to consider the long-term implications of surgical interventions. Unlike non-surgical options, surgeries come with risks such as scarring and potential complications during recovery. 

Some procedures may require revision surgeries years down the line due to aging or other factors.

Procedure-Specific Ages


  • Rhinoplasty, or nose reshaping, has specific age guidelines. For girls, the minimum age is usually 16 years old. Boys often have to wait until they are at least 17 years old. This difference accounts for the fact that boys typically mature later than girls.
  • Facial growth should be complete before undergoing rhinoplasty. This ensures that the surgery results will not be altered by further development. Patients need to have realistic expectations about the outcomes and understand potential impacts on breathing function.
  • Choosing to undergo rhinoplasty is a significant decision. It requires thorough consultation with a qualified surgeon who can assess facial growth completion and discuss realistic outcomes.

Breast Augmentation

  • Breast augmentation comes with its own set of age considerations. The general minimum age for this procedure is 18 years old. However, if someone opts for silicone implants, they must be at least 22 years old due to FDA regulations.
  • Future considerations such as breastfeeding and changes in sensation are important discussions before surgery. These factors can influence a patient’s decision on whether to proceed with breast augmentation.
  • Patients should also be aware of risks like implant rupture and possible replacement surgeries in the future.

Risks include:

  1. Implant rupture
  2. Need for replacement surgeries
  3. Undergoing any plastic surgery requires careful consideration of various factors, including age group, risks, and future implications.

Reconstructive vs Cosmetic Surgery

Eligibility Differences

The eligibility for cosmetic surgery varies significantly across countries. Some regions have stricter regulations. This means the legal age for cosmetic procedures might be higher in one place than another. For reconstructive purposes, the rules can differ too.

Countries often set different legal age thresholds for cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries. Cosmetic surgery usually has a higher age limit. This is because it’s elective and not medically necessary. Reconstructive surgery, on the other hand, might be performed at a younger age. It helps correct deformities or injuries.

  • It’s important to note that individual assessment matters more than just an age number. Doctors look at each case carefully before deciding if someone is suitable for surgery.

Case Examples

One teenager had reconstructive nose surgery after an injury at 16 years old. The results were successful because the procedure was timely and necessary. 

Another case involved cosmetic lip augmentation in a young adult who waited until they were 21 years old, ensuring both physical and psychological readiness. 

These examples highlight why sometimes waiting until reaching a certain age benefits patient health and satisfaction. 

They also show how crucial psychological readiness is alongside physical maturity when considering cosmetic surgery.

Surgeon’s Perspective

Eligibility Criteria

Surgeons assess several factors before deeming a patient eligible for plastic surgery. They prioritize health conditions and psychological stability. Candidates must be in good physical health to minimize surgical risks. 

Psychological readiness is also crucial. Patients should have realistic expectations about the outcomes of their surgery.

The assessment includes evaluating whether a patient has reached physical maturity. This is especially important for young individuals considering procedures such as rhinoplasty or breast augmentation, where growth can affect results. Surgeons look for signs of growth completion before proceeding.

Patient Selection

Selecting the right candidates involves thorough evaluations by surgeons during consultations. They examine both physical and mental health aspects closely. 

A comprehensive review ensures that only those who stand to benefit most undergo surgery.

Key elements of this process include:

  1. Understanding risks, benefits, and alternatives.
  2. Ensuring patients have realistic goals.
  3. Assessing psychological readiness for change.

Informed consent is vital, particularly with minors involved in decision-making processes regarding plastic surgery options following reconstructive or cosmetic needs identified previously.

Real-Life Cases and Regrets

Early Age Procedures

Many real-life cases show that early-age plastic surgeries are mostly for reconstructive needs or to correct significant functional impairments. 

For example, children born with cleft palates often undergo surgery early to aid in proper speech development and eating functions. These procedures have a clear medical benefit.

However, elective cosmetic surgeries at a young age pose risks. Teenagers’ bodies and minds are still developing. 

Operating on a body that hasn’t fully matured can lead to unforeseen changes as the person grows, possibly negating the surgery’s benefits or leading to dissatisfaction.

Experts advocate for a multidisciplinary approach before deciding on surgery for young people. This team might include pediatricians, psychologists, and plastic surgeons who together assess the necessity and timing of the procedure. They consider both physical readiness and psychological impact.

Have an Open Discussion with Your Plastic Surgeon

Talking openly with Dr. Ali Sadeghi is the key before getting pto surgery. It’s important to fully understand the procedure and how it affects you physically and mentally. This conversation can help you make smart choices and approach plastic surgery responsibly and with good knowledge.

As the founder and medical director of the Sadeghi Center for Plastic Surgery and the surgery center NOLA, Dr. Sadeghi has established a practice dedicated to the complete care of his plastic surgery patients. 

Our patients receive compassionate, one-on-one care in a welcoming environment. Contact us today!