Teenage Breast Implants

Once upon a time breast implantation surgery was reserved for women who were in hot pursuit of stardom and for those who were wealthy enough to pay for this costly procedure. This procedure was also reserved for those over the age of 18, but nowadays the number of teenage girls getting breast implants is steadily increasing. Last year, over 1,800 girls under the age of 18 had their breasts augmented. While this age group comprises only 1% of all women having this procedure, it is double the number of underage teenage girls who were having their breasts enlarged just six years ago.

There are no major physical criteria that would restrict a girl from breast enlargement surgery. The only requirement is that the girl has completed her growth, which usually occurs by the time she is 16, and often earlier.

Psychological criteria are another question. There is a relationship between body image and depression. Negative attitudes about one's appearance can be a symptom of depression. Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental illness characterized by self-loathing of one's physical characteristics. Needless to say, psychologically normal teens are self-conscious, and commonly dislike their appearance. Plastic surgeons are supposed to screen all patients on psychological criteria as well as physical. However, the standards were all based on adults. Could teens and their parents be trying to treat psychological problems or even common adolescent "I hate myself" with a scalpel?

Think of this teen as a young woman a few years down the road. She is now glad her parents stopped her from getting ten ear piercings and the barbed wire tattoo around her neck. How will she feel about her parents agreeing to her breast implants?

Models sporting "perfect" bodies grace the covers of all the trendiest magazines. Payment plans are available. Teen stars are setting the example. See our reader poll: "Did Britney do it?" Is this a good trend for teenage girls? Tell us what you think.

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