Summary: It’s no surprise that your teenage years can be quite formative, especially when it comes to your body image. We love to be body positive on this blog, but there’s no denying that many teens can feel intense pressure to look a certain way (even if their bodies do not conform to that shape). That pressure is so intense that in the nation of Columbia, teens have been legally banned from getting certain cosmetic plastic surgery procedures. We’re not sure about this approach, but it’s definitely worth discussing.
Curbing Breast Augmentation for Teens
We’ve written before about South America’s well-established reputation for plastic surgery. Whether we’re talking about Brazil or Argentina, there’s no doubt that plastic surgery is exceptionally popular—more popular per capita, perhaps, than in the United States. That’s also true in Columbia, where the procedures are so popular one is being performed every five minutes (you know, statistically… on average). It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that this plastic surgery enthusiasm is embraced by the youth.
There are a few significant issues with plastic surgery in youth, not including the morality of it. The young tend to have a skewed view of the world and of their interest in it (by virtue of their as-of-yet limited age). In other words, they’re too young to consider that they might want something different in the future. Additionally, the bodies of patients in their teens and early twenties are still developing; this means that the results achieved by surgery may be skewed later by a still-developing body.
In many cases, surgeons can either talk through these issues or anticipate future growth. However, due to the intense pressure to get plastic surgery in places such as Columbia, lawmakers have taken some strong steps.
Columbia Passes a Law
Assuming the law successfully passes through Columbia’s congress (it’s expected to do just that), persons under the age of 18 will no longer be legally allowed to receive the following procedures:
- Butt Lift or Butt Augmentation
- Breast Augmentation
- Other Cosmetic Procedures
Under the current writing of the law (as it stands today), surgeons will no longer be able to use anyone under the age of 18 in their advertising materials. This will, hopefully, cut down on the intense pressure that young people feel to “sculpt” their bodies in a particular way.
To be sure, this is by no means a uniquely Columbian quality. To some degree, teens in many areas of the world face considerable pressure to look a certain way—usually with certain proportions and with a certain type of slenderness. This law certainly isn’t going to make that pressure go away, but it takes an option off the table—an option that some might feel pressured into otherwise.
Teens and Plastic Surgery
The actions taken by the Columbian legislature might seem rather extreme. After all, most people might assume that the best place for such decisions is with the plastic surgeon. At the same time, surgeons may be happy that they don’t have to face the unrelenting pressure of teenagers and their parents.
To put it another way, surgeons are usually the best judge of what is possible and not possible for a patient. According to the website of the Minneapolis breast surgeons at Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, every procedure begins with a consultation with patients, during which the desired final results will be discussed. This is the best time to figure out if your body is developed enough for the procedure you want to get.
Bodies are Always Changing
Your body is always changing, but that’s never more true than it is in your youth. That change varies from person to person and can be quite unpredictable. For example, the breasts continue to develop into the early twenties. For patients who are looking to, for example, enhance the aesthetic appearance of the breasts, this development may cause problems later in life.
However, some teens—even in the United States—are treated with a breast augmentation procedure. In many cases, these breast augmentations are designed not to exaggerate the size of the breasts, but rather to address an asymmetry or to address overly small breasts and bring them into proportion with the rest of the body.
These seem like reasonable changes—changes that patients will be unlikely to regret later on in life. Of course, any breast augmentation procedure will require revision somewhere down the road, but all surgeons want that revision to be for the right reasons.
Age is a Sensitive Topic
When it comes to plastic surgery, age is always a sensitive topic. There are certainly patients who are too young to get a procedure, and the new law passed in Columbia might be an appropriate response in that particular context (only time will tell there).
In the United States, teens who want plastic surgery still have an opportunity to discuss it with a surgeon during a consultation. But make no mistake, during most of these consultations, the surgeon will advise against any procedure. But there are always exceptions and much will have to be determined on an individual basis. Even with a sensitive topic, it all begins with discussion.