How Young Is Too Young To Have Cosmetic Surgery?
We often get enquiries at the clinic asking what age patients can have cosmetic surgery.
There is a simple answer to that and a more complicated answer.
The simple answer is that we only treat patients who are over 18 due to the strict guidelines and controls over operating on children
…but the real answer is that there is no limit on the age for cosmetic surgery.
One of our surgeons at the clinic, Khurram Khan, is a specialist in paediatric plastic surgery and holds an NHS consultant post at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Children undergo cosmetic surgery all the time.
Cleft lip deformity is primarily a cosmetic problem. This is performed on babies.
Prominent ear correction is commonly performed around the age of 6.
It is not unusual to treat children with vascular lesions, moles, or birthmarks which are primarily a cosmetic problem.
It comes back to the image of cosmetic surgery – the public has a picture of a glamour model with enormous breasts and huge lips.
We are about improving quality of life and this is what we, as plastic surgeons, are trained to do.
Cosmetic surgery comes in many forms and it may be clearly ethical and justified to perform surgery on a child if it is in their best interest.
However, I think the question is often used when talking about breast surgery and in those circumstances there is a good reasons for waiting before having surgery.
It is important before operating on any growing organ, to wait until it has stopped growing before performing surgery, so it is completely reasonable to wait until around the age of 18 before considering having any breast surgery.
Having said that, there may be an argument to perform surgeries sooner in situations of significant asymmetries or extremely large breasts, but by and large, it is common practice to wait until puberty has finished and in fact, the longer you wait, the better.
This is particularly true if considering breast implants because these can have ongoing issues and the need for further surgery in the future, so will require detailed discussions with the patients and the family before embarking on any surgery.
So whilst the easy answer is that you should wait until you are 18 before having cosmetic surgery, like most things it really depends.
It is not so easy to give blanket answers to all-comers.
It depends on what your problem is, how that problem is likely to develop, and how that problem affects you.
It really requires a conversation, and perhaps several conversations with you and your family so that we can create a plan and give you the best result possible.
We are delighted to have Khurram Khan at the clinic, as he is one of only a very select group of plastic surgeons who specialise in paediatric plastic surgery and so he has experience of operating on children of all ages.
We are also very lucky to have close links with local private hospitals who have facilities in theatres and on the wards to treat paediatric patients.
So the headline answer is that you should wait until you are 18 before having cosmetic surgery, but if you think that you or your child might benefit from surgery before the age of 18, we would be happy to discuss it with you, and we always love to hear from you.
Call us on 01214543680 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our director Jonathan Staiano does a Live Q&A on Facebook every Tuesday at 7pm, so feel free to drop in there.