Plastic surgery on the very young.
There is no more controversial topic in plastic surgery than plastic surgery on the younger patient. As a board certified plastic surgeon I feel that younger patients should need us the least. We are not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle, diet and exercise. There are however certain instances where I find that surgery at a younger age is justified and even beneficial. Here are some examples:
Male breast reduction:
This procedure is indicated in enlarged male breasts or gynecomastia. In certain young men, often for no discernible medical reason, the male breast tissue is enlarged. This can happen even without weight gain. Long lasting gynecomastia leads to stretching of the breast skin over time. When the skin is loose it is often necessary to excise it, leading to more visible scarring. Early treatment is therefore preferable and can often be done with minimal incisions and visibility.
The majority of nasal growth ends with puberty, so rhinoplasty at this time makes medical sense for an appropriate candidate. The driving force here, though, is social. For many of my patients, the end of puberty, the end of high school and the break before college all coincide. It is a time when many patients have the support from their families, time off to recover and the opportunity to subtly transition to a new environment.
Otoplasty is the setting back of protruding ears. For the child with prominent ears, otoplasty at a young age can save a lot of peer teasing and unnecessary ridicule. Ear cartilage is softer in the younger patient as well, which often leads to a more stable result.
Surgery after massive weight loss
The message is getting out and people are listening. Each year I see more and more people, particularly young people who, through shear perseverance, diet and exercise have lost a large amount of weight. One remnant from massive weight loss is an excessive amount of loose skin that won’t recoil without the help of plastic surgery. While most of my tummy tuck patients are post partum mothers, it is the most common surgery in the massive weight loss patient at any age.
Breast augmentation for Amastia
Amastia means no breast tissue. Each year I see a number of very young women, often with their mothers, exploring breast augmentation for the sole purpose of feeling “normal.” These are healthy young women who don’t have small breasts; rather, they have almost no breast tissue at all. These younger patients return to school and life in general with a sense of feeling whole or balanced.
If you are a young person or parent reading this, please know that I will never push you or your child into surgery. The greatest joy in my practice is educating patients and families about the surgeries they are contemplating. If these are thing you have been thinking about it would be my pleasure to educate you as well.