During adolescence, it is normal to experience insecurities. During this period the body is changing and growing and many concerns and dislikes can arise. When you’re still in school, it is very easy to compare yourself to others and dislike something about your own appearance or consider that something is wrong with how you look. This is in addition to images which are consumed through social media, television and advertisements.
While some teenagers will come to accept their bodies, others will start to consider undergoing plastic surgery. This can often be shocking and concerning for parents who hear their teenager wishes to have plastic surgery.
So what should you do when your teenager wants plastic surgery?
Don’t be dismissive
It’s very easy to listen to a child and simply say “no” to their requests. However, this won’t make the problem go away and can even cause the child to want plastic surgery even more. Instead, it is better to have an open dialogue with your daughter or son. This way you can discover the actual cause of why they want to undergo plastic surgery and whether or not this is something you will be supportive of them pursuing.
Some teenagers may have conditions such as Poland’s Syndrome, which will not change without surgical intervention. Others may have experienced an injury which has altered their appearance. However, others may wish to undergo surgery without realising that part of their body looks completely normal the way it is.
Find out why they want surgery
During a consultation, a surgeon will ask adults why they want plastic surgery. This is a question you should ask your teenager too. Your teenager may be feeling insecure and dislike their looks. Others may be experiencing bullying about a certain body feature. Some may be experiencing pressure from a partner; others may be wishing to copy a social media influencer or a celebrity. Have a conversation with your teenager to find out the exact cause of why they want surgery.
Surgery will not solve everything
It is important that your teenager understands that surgery may not be the magical cure to their problems. For some people, plastic surgery is a much-needed confidence boost and allows them to be much happier with their lives. However, if there are other underlying reasons for wanting the surgery, they might not go away after the procedure. If your child is being bullied, this may not stop once the surgery has been completed. It may be worth discussing this and ensuring your child fully comprehends this before they decide they actually want to go ahead with cosmetic surgery.
During puberty, the body will be growing, and the labia and vagina are no exception to this. The external genitalia has many different sizes and shapes, and in most cases, this is no cause for concern. Many women will not actually reach maturity until they are in their 20s. As a result of this, plastic surgeons will rarely agree to perform gynaecological procedures on someone who is under 18. Operating on someone who is under 18 years old can cause negative consequences in the future, including painful intercourse, scarring, loss of sensation and unhappiness with the appearance of the genitalia.
If your daughter is below 18 years old and is particularly concerned you may wish to take her to a gynaecologist or a GP before booking an appointment with a cosmetic surgeon.
Wait until they are 18
Is your child is still sure they want to go ahead with a cosmetic surgery procedure? Most surgeons within the United Kingdom will not offer surgery to anyone under 18. When your teenager turns 18, you may wish to book consultations and attend with them. The surgeon will be able to assess your teenager and decide whether or not they are a suitable candidate for the procedure. The surgeon will consider whether your child has body dysmorphic disorder or has any mental health problems. Attending a consultation will give you the opportunity to ask any questions and may help you to be supportive if your child is suitable for surgery.
Centre for Surgery only offers procedures to patients who are over 18 years old. Those who are interested in finance options will need to be at least 21 years old.