Each year, more college-aged men and women – in their early or mid twenties – are likely to have plastic surgery. In 2011, 794,000 cosmetic procedures were performed on adults ages 20-29 – up 6% from 2010 ““ and some 76,755 surgeries on teens ages 13-19. A recent study by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) also reveals that young adults ages 18-24 had the highest approval rating for cosmetic surgery.
What’s the motivation for surgical procedures at such young ages? The reasons are not always cosmetic. Many young adults opt for plastic surgery to improve health or well-being. For college women (and teens age 15 or older), surgery can correct imbalanced or excessively large breasts that cause shoulder or back pain, or even difficulty breathing. Surgery can also help repair birthmarks, scars, or injuries, and improve long-term issues that are safer to address once growth and development have matured.
However, self-perception also plays a role in the decision to have cosmetic surgery. College students are often motivated by image ““ by physical comparison to others, as well as a sense of positive investment in their own appearance. Many women begin to see themselves as older and more mature during college, and have surgery to better balance their body proportions. Young adults entering the workforce undergo cosmetic procedures to make a good first impression and gain a competitive edge in the job market. For adults aged 20-29, the number of facial shaping procedures increased greatly in 2011, with chin augmentation up by 68%, lip augmentation by 45%, and cheek implants by 44%.
Similar to college adults, teens often see surgery as a way to correct physical flaws that make them self-conscious. Nose surgery (rhinoplasty) is the most common cosmetic procedure requested by teens. Other common surgeries include pinning back protruding ears (otoplasty), augmenting or reshaping the chin, and male breast reduction (gynocomastia). Cosmetic surgery may help remedy issues that affect teens’ self-esteem or that even lead to bullying.
Plastic surgery can increase self-esteem and confidence, and for many young adults, can be a very positive change. However, it’s important that any surgery be performed on the right candidates, for the right reasons. Plastic surgery is a highly personal decision, and anyone considering a procedure should do it for themselves, and not to meet someone else’s expectations. Young adults, and especially teens, should also be emotionally and physically mature enough to undergo surgery, and to be realistic about the results. During a pre-surgery consultation, your surgeon will discuss the procedure and any risks involved, as well as what to expect afterwards.
Considering plastic surgery? Bangor Plastic & Hand Surgery provides state-of-the-art services with the highest standards in medical care, comfort, and privacy. Call us at (207) 947-5657 for more information, or to schedule a consultation with one of our highly skilled surgeons.