When cosmetic surgery is not the answer
01 September 2008
Usually, I love to have fun with my blog but today's a different matter. Why, you ask? Well, all too often, a new survey comes out that appears to show how unhappy young people in Britain are today - and it's a matter that's close to my heart.
The latest research to labour the point comes from the appropriately-named BAAPS - or the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons - and reveals that five per cent of its plastic surgeons have performed procedures on 10 to 15 teenagers.
The figures are sure to come as a shock to the many ethical surgeons who dominate the UK's cosmetic surgery scene. Here at the Harley Medical Group, for instance, it's our steadfast policy never to operate on anyone under 18 years of age.
However, the study does raise some questions about the nature of aesthetic plastic surgery. After all, at their very basic level, cosmetic surgery procedures are meant to make us feel better about ourselves. If I'm unhappy and self-conscious about my bumpy nose, won't a rhinoplasty fundamentally improve my quality of life?
Using the same logic, it's easy to see why some teenagers - and their parents - might believe that a breast reduction is the right way forward for a girl who's being bullied for her large chest, or that an ear-pinning procedure is the right option for a boy who's being called "pixie ears" in the playground.
But teenage bodily hang-ups seldom persist into adulthood, and that's why it's so crucial for people to remember that performing cosmetic surgery procedures on under-18s should not be a widely adopted policy. That hefty bosom that now attracts jibes and taunts will soon be an indispensible male-magnet and a knobbly nose could be a future muse for an artist or sculptor. I'm sure the owners wouldn't mind so much then!
And if you hit your early 30s and your heaving breasts are still cause for heartache? Then it's time to start thinking about what surgery could do for you. Cosmetic surgery can really make a difference to those who want to change something about themselves, but it's also permanent. Those few extra years will give you ample time to reflect on your true feelings about your body, enabling you to absorb all the expert advice you can from cosmetic surgery nurses and surgeons so that you'll make the choice for yourself, rather than being intimidated by others.