How Young is Too Young for Cosmetic Surgery Procedures?
There’s been a lot of hype and interest in some of the young starlets having cosmetic procedures performed at very young ages; sometimes even younger than 18-years-old. While each situation is unique – and there are specific times where cosmetic surgery can be performed for patients younger than 18 – my general rule is usually 21 or older.
Let’s first discuss some of the special circumstances that might allow someone under 21 to have a cosmetic procedure. First and foremost, parental consent is required for patients younger than 18, except those who are emancipated adults. If that consent has been obtained, some special circumstances that might allow cosmetic procedures for people under 21-years-old would include genetic abnormalities of the chest wall, hypoplastic (underdeveloped) breasts, abnormalities of the jaw bones that would impede normal chewing and development, deviated septum in the nose preventing breathing, disfiguring scars after an accident, or other abnormalities that prevent normal growth and development or are psychologically damaging.
Interestingly, the FDA will not allow silicone breast implants to be placed in anyone younger than 22, even if they are born with genetic abnormalities or disfiguring medical conditions. Fillers such as Restylane® and Juvéderm® are not approved for anyone under 22. Botox® and Dysport® are approved for 18 and older. All of the above factors need to be considered in addition to a young person’s mental health, parental involvement and long-term safety.
For adults older than 21, some factors are less complicated. When you’re 18, you are considered a legal adult and can consent to surgery. The FDA will allow fillers and silicone implants for adults over 21, so those issues are removed from the equation. But, whenever I am considering an operation on a young person – whether it be for strictly cosmetic purposes or for developmental abnormalities – there are many factors to take into consideration.
~ Dr. Timothy Janiga