Self Esteem Issues and Plastic Surgery

High school for many teenagers can be a very difficult time, trying to fit in and becoming part of the popular crowd. Many teenagers experience low self esteem issues, what is the solution to a young adult’s self esteem problems? Cosmetic Surgery has been known to help older adults feel confident again, so why not provide teenagers with the same solution to their self image issues. Many teenagers experience low self-esteem and the latest solution to remedy these issues is cosmetic surgery.

How advisable are these procedures for a young adult? For some physicians there is no issue with teenagers having cosmetic procedures performed as long as the teenager is electing to have the surgery for the right reasons. To increase self esteem is not one of the right reasons. Many acceptable reasons for having cosmetic surgery procedures exist, and the reasons will vary depending on what procedure is performed. The number of Cosmetic Surgery procedures performed each year is on the rise, some of these Cosmetic Procedures, however, are more popular than others.

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Breast Augmentation and Rhinoplasty, more commonly referred to as a nose job, are two of the most popular Cosmetic Procedures among women. While women are not the only ones going under the knife a few popular cosmetic procedures among men are Rhinoplasty and Eyelid Reconstruction ("American Society of Plastic Surgeons", 2011). While each of these Cosmetic Procedures requires that the patient be sedated or anesthetized, and an incision be made because of the body part the length and difficulty of the surgery can differ.

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Breast Augmentation uses implants to fulfill a patient’s desire for fuller breasts or to restore breast volume after weight loss or pregnancy” ("Plastic Surgery Guide", 2011). The first step in Breast Augmentation is anesthesia, second is the incision. The incision is usually done in inconspicuous areas like under the breast or around the areola. Once the incision has been made the implant can be placed, there are two different types of implants, silicon and saline. Essentially there is no difference between the two types of implants, basically just patient preference.

Ultimately the choice between saline or silicon implant is left up to the patient. After the implant has been placed the incision will be closed and the patient sent to recover ("Plastic Surgery Guide", 2011). Rhinoplasty procedure is similar to Breast Augmentation in that the procedure follows some of the same steps anesthesia and incision. After the incision has been made the nose can be reshaped or a deviated septum corrected. Once the reshaping is completed the incision will be closed. Last, Eyelid Reconstruction surgery is essentially very simple.

The patient will be anesthetized, an incision will be made, and the eyebrow lifted. During all of these procedures the patient is sedated by anesthetic medication for the duration of the surgery. Once the patient is sedated the surgery can begin. Like any medical procedure there are risks involved. These risks can range anywhere from complications with anesthesia to complications with the surgery itself. Some of the risks and complications from the anesthesia can be, but are not limited to blood clots, brain damage, death, stroke, and heart attack.

In addition to the anesthetic complications the patients can also experience necrotic tissue, asymmetry of the body part undergoing cosmetic surgery, a seroma or fluid build up under the skin, and numbness or tingling from the cosmetic procedure alone ("Smart Plastic Surgery", 2011). While Breast Augmentation, Rhinoplastly, and Eyelid Reconstruction are the most popular cosmetic procedures, there are areas in the United States where these procedures are performed at a higher rate.

For instance cities like Miami, New York, and Los Angelos are among the top 10 metropolis areas with higher plastic surgery rates than anywhere else in the country. Some reasons for these cities having higher cosmetic surgery rates are an increase in the number of practicing Cosmetic Surgeons and the openness of people having cosmetic surgery performed. Cosmetic Surgery is not the taboo it once was, and the increased candidness of patients having the plastic surgeries performed along with the fact that cosmetic surgery is more affordable are ajor contributing factors in the increasing popularity of Cosmetic Procedures (Ruiz, 2011). In addition to cities like Miami, New York, and Los Angelos having higher plastic surgery rates, these cities are also among the top 10 places to have plastic surgery performed. With cosmetic surgery procedures increasing five percent since 2009, it has been noted that patients are willing to travel to another city to have their cosmetic procedures performed ("San Francisco Plastic Surgery & Laser Center", 2011).

While costs may vary from city to city and procedure to procedure, a good rule of thumb to estimate the cost of the surgery is to estimate the amount of time the procedure will take. Typically the longer the procedure, the more expensive the cosmetic surgery will be. In 2002 the estimated revenue created by patients undergoing surgery was over 11 million dollars (Lewis, 2004). Cosmetic procedures can vary in cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. The more complicated the surgery, the more expensive the procedure.

Some simple procedures, such as Botox and Collagen Injections will cost approximately $400. The more complicated procedures such as Breast, Rhinoplastly, and Eyelid Reconstruction will cost the approximately $4,000. The most expensive cosmetic surgery procedure is a Lower Body lift, costing $8,000, the Facelift is the second most expensive cosmetic procedure at $7,000 ("A Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Protecting Patient Health", 2011). With the cost of cosmetic procedures as expensive as it is, many patients look to their health insurance as a possible means of payment.

Health insurance however will only cover cosmetic surgery procedures performed for reconstructive reasons. A patient’s health insurance will not cover procedures performed merely for elective reasons. For instance, a patient having breast augmentation after a mastectomy will be covered by many health insurance companies, but breast augmentation performed for purely elective reason is not covered ("About. com", 2011). For many patients cosmetic surgery is a choice, a choice to revamp their bodies, the cost for the cosmetic procedures is primarily the patient’s responsibility.

With plastic surgery procedures on the rise, it is only appropriate to ask what genre of patient is causing this increase in plastic surgery. While women are generally responsible for over 90 percent of the cosmetic procedures performed in this country it is imperative to look at the age group of these women. Teenagers specifically are looking to plastic surgery sometimes as a quick fix for self esteem issues. “It's important to draw a distinction between teenagers who are younger than 18 and those who are older. At 18, these individuals are adults in the eyes of the law and are allowed to make the decision on their own.

For those under 18, it becomes a family and parental matter. We also have to distinguish between procedures that are purely cosmetic and those that are reconstructive. Several factors are important in deciding when and for whom surgery is appropriate: an ability to understand the procedure; that the desire for surgery does not reflect what a parent, friend, or boyfriend desires; and that expectations are realistic” (Shulman, 2008). Most physicians would agree for a teenager to wait to until at least the age of 18 to undergo any cosmetic procedure.

The Food and Drug Administration suggests patients wait until they are at least 22 before undergoing the knife (Shulman, 2008). While most physicians will not consider performing Breast Augmentation on a patient under the age of 18, Rhinoplastly can be a different story. Many physicians will not perform Breast Augmentation on teenagers because the body is still developing physically in this area this is different with the nose. Rhinoplasty is mainly considered an acceptable form of plastic surgery among teenagers because the procedure is not always done for cosmetic reasons.

Reasons other than appearance can range anywhere from a deviated septum to a patient’s difficulty breathing. For these reasons, Rhinoplasty is a very common procedure among teenage boys and girls alike. Because the number of cosmetic procedures has been increasing so dramatically over the past few years and evidence shows the number of procedures performed each year is only going to continue to increase, it is important for teenagers and adults alike to explore all of their options before electing to have cosmetic surgery performed.

Remembering many elective cosmetic procedures are permanent is important and essentially these procedures are irreversible once performed. In addition always keep in mind the cost of the cosmetic procedures, some of the surgeries are very expensive and many health insurance companies will not cover Cosmetic Procedures. Anyone considering cosmetic surgery should consider all of his or her options first. For example, if the patient is concerned with weight loss and is considering liposuction, a non-surgical alternative may be a simple as a change in diet nd exercise. Alternatives to surgery are always available a consult with a qualified physician is just the ticket to discovering what those options may be.


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  2. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. [no author]. (2011). 2010 Top Five Female Cosmetic Procedures. Retrived from ttp://www. plasticsurgery. org/Documents/news-resources/statistics/2010- statisticss/Charts/2010-top-5-female-cosmetic-surgery-procedures-graph. pdf
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  4. Lewis, G. (2004). Stats. Getting a Lift. Costs of cosmetic surgery supplies on the rise. Materials Management In Health Care, 13(4), 38.
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  6. Plastic Surgery Guide. [no author]. (2011). Types of Breast Surgery. Retrived from http://www. plasticsurgeryguide. com/your-breast. html
  7. Ruiz, R. (2011). Forbes. com. Retrieved from http://www. forbes. com/2007/11/29/plastic-health-surgery-forbeslife-cx_rr_1129health. html
  8. San Francisco plastic surgery & laser center. [no author]. (2011).
Updated: May 19, 2021
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Self Esteem Issues and Plastic Surgery. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

Self Esteem Issues and Plastic Surgery essay
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