Teenagers and Cosmetic Surgery - Impact of Bullying & Media

Posted On : November 10, 2020

Spike in teenagers opting for cosmetic surgeries. Reason? Bullying and social media influence

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Whether it’s lip fillers, breast augmentations or rhinoplasties, surgeons claim more and more teens are looking to ‘enhance’ their appearance to ensure they have good ‘selfies’ on Instagram and Facebook accounts. Some have functional reasons for needing surgery, such as not being able to breathe properly through their nose or having issues with having noticeably enlarged breasts. But plastic surgeons say a surprising number of teens are requesting procedures – particularly on their faces – due to a mix of bullying and influence from celebrities and social media. “Yes. there definitely has been a rise amongst teenagers who come seeking surgery for the sake of social media and also to ‘fit’ into the current celebrity trends,”said Dr Anand K, Plastic surgeon, Sparsh Group of Hospitals. Claiming that midterm vacations and summer vacations are the time when they see a surge in teenagers, especially the high school students coming in for surgeries, another plastic surgeon in the city says, ”About five years ago, I would see about two teenagers per month but now especially during vacations, I see at least 8 to 10 students per month,”

We warn them

While many doctors who are fielding more and more millennial clients, warn most teenagers especially high school students, are not ready to undergo such life-altering procedures, if it is a young adult then the doctors say, are mature enough to take decisions on their own. However, “it is our duty to warn them and tell them about the pros and cons of the surgeries. We leave it to the choice of the individual if it is a young adult. If there are school students then definitely we leave it to the parents’ decision,” explained Dr Anand. Meanwhile, Dr Vijay Joseph, Professor Plastic Surgery at St Johns Hospital says, “there are yongsters especially boys who come for treatments like gynecomastia to us. That definitely needs a surgery and even then we do inform the pros and cons to them,” It is a condition where there is an imbalance in hormones. All males produce some female hormones when there is imbalance it produces gynecomastia, explaiend Dr Vijay. “This is developed at the age of 13 or 14. This can be painful and tenderness occurs too. It also causes a lot of emotional distraught. The boys may be afraid to take off their shirts due to shame or even fear that they are turning into a female. Then, they would seek surgery,” said Dr Anand. Most of the females come for enhancement of breasts or for getting their smiles fixed. “There are many who have come to get their smiles fixed. The number is slowly increasing. After seeing their favourite celebrities they also want to be the same, said a renowned plastic surgeon. ‘Many of them were going for rhinoplasties and otoplasties (a surgery where the ears are pinned), now they’re having more facial surgeries,’ he added.

Counsellors warn too

Meanwhile, psychologists confirm that ‘social media’ has played a big role in children as young as 13 seeking reconstructive and plastic surgeries. Explaining one such case, Dr Pawana N, a psychologist said, “I have seen many cases where children as young as 13 want to get their smile corrected only because they want good selfies on their Instagram accounts.” Most of the parents reportedly go to the psychologists seeking counseling for their children regarding this. However, they also come across some genuine cases and those are referred to the plastic surgeons, Dr Ashwini Y, Counsellor at Nimhans said: “In one case, the 13 year old had gynecomastia issues and he would be bullied a lot in school. Girls would offer him a bra and pass very cheap comments. This had the boy’s self esteem go extremely low and also he had terrible pain and tenderness in his breasts. So in such cases we do refer them to surgeons,” she said.

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