According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), over 10 percent of their patients undergoing facial plastic and reconstructive surgery are under 20 years of age. Fortunately for teenagers, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery can provide solutions to problems such as severe acne breakouts and scars, prominent or enlarged ears or noticeable facial scars. For adolescents who are mature enough for surgery, facial plastic and reconstructive procedures can help boost self-esteem at a time in life when the slightest body flaw can bring torment and teasing, and help them face the future with confidence. As the world’s largest association of facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons, the AAFPRS is committed to ensuring that teenage patients make informed and educated decisions when undergoing facial plastic surgery, and offers the following guidelines:
- Teens should have a mature facial skeleton prior to undergoing facial plastic surgery. The lower jaw is one of the last facial bones to fully mature so this must be taken into account when planning facial surgery in teens.
- Teens should have appropriate expectations when undergoing facial plastic surgery. Expected healing and possible complications should be discussed with the patient and the parents. Computer imaging is very helpful in educating patients about appropriate facial contour and balance.
- Care must be taken to identify patients with body dysmorphic disorder. Patients with this disorder must undergo appropriate counseling before considering surgery.
- Parents should not pressure their teens to undergo facial plastic surgery. This is a personal decision that must be made by the informed patient.
About the AAFPRS: The AAFPRS is the world’s largest association of facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons with more than 2,600 members – whose cosmetic reconstructive surgery focuses on the face, head and neck. Academy fellows are board-certified and subscribe to a code of ethics. In addition, the AAFPRS provides consumers with free information and brochures and a list of qualified facial plastic surgeons in their area by calling 1-800-332-FACE or by visiting the AAFPRS Web site, www.FACEMD.org.