Beauty mania at a young age – where are the limits?


A pony of their own, the latest game console, their own bouncy castle, the new smartphone that everyone at school now has or must have. These are mostly the wishes and dreams of children and young people today.

But what if the daughter at 15 suddenly wishes for a breast enlargement instead of a make-up table? How does one react to such wishes and, above all, does such an operation even make sense at such a young age?

Delusion or mental strain?

If you take a look at glossy magazines, news and famous model shows, it is suggested to you at a young age that a flat stomach, a small snub nose and perfect breasts are the ideal of beauty. The list of things that one might consider desirable for one’s own body can be long. It is not uncommon for 16-year-old girls in particular to strive for and realize this ideal. This makes it all the more important to differentiate. Did the young people’s desires arise from a spontaneously exemplified idea or is really a psychological pressure of suffering associated with the supposed flaws.

Few adolescents opt for aesthetic surgery

About ten percent of all cosmetic procedures are performed on those under 20 years of age. This is what previous statistics show. But as early as 2012, the German Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (DGPRÄC) pointed out that this ten percent referred to all plastic surgery operations, such as the treatment of hand deformities or the consequences of burns. Only 1.3 percent of the procedures were purely aesthetic. The majority of these procedures involved ear restorations.

According to surveys, every fifth young person could imagine having a cosmetic operation – but only a few people think of turning this wish into reality. Nevertheless, from time to time there are cases when especially young girls wish to change their appearance. Here is then not only a serious, professional doctor is needed, who talks to the young women in detail. Above all, it is important to involve the parents. The operation ultimately depends on their consent anyway. A detailed discussion with a trusted physician can shed more light on the reasons for this surgery and the specialist can better empathize with the situation.

Conscientious decisions should be more important than profit

Of course, it would be profitable and very easy for a surgeon to make the often naive wishes of very young patients. Not infrequently, this can cause more harm than the operation was intended to benefit. Often the body is not fully developed by the beginning of the 20th year of life, whereby early interventions in retrospect negative effects can have negative effects. Therefore, it is particularly important to find a reputable surgeon and to clarify in a detailed preliminary discussion why the adolescent wishes to have a change.

Good doctors take their patients seriously, but point out especially to young patients the dangers and what disadvantages this could bring for their development. Unfortunately, not all doctors act this way. That is why it is important to consult a specialist in plastic and aesthetic surgery and in any case to get a second opinion.

Can a law counteract this?

In order to prevent cosmetic surgery on those who are not of age, there have been several discussions at the political level about passing a law which would Generally prohibit cosmetic surgery on minors should. In some cases, this may prevent adolescents from harming their bodies through unnecessary procedures. However, since this is a general prohibition, it would also prohibit interventions that can be associated with a high level of suffering. Especially young people who suffer from physical problems would no longer be able to have an operation in the future.

However, the treatment of protruding ears, growth-related breasts in young men, or breasts that are too heavy in girls whose bodies are too small in proportion may be appropriate under certain circumstances, even before the age of 18. A clear demarcation between interventions that are exclusively aesthetically justified and those that are medically or psychologically justified. is also usually difficult. It is therefore advisable to have the situation assessed in advance by an expert in a psychological consultation, who can then give a binding green light or advise against the procedure.

No reason to worry

Parents usually have nothing to worry about. – Ultimately, it is in their hands whether surgery is granted to the teen. Even if the doctor advocates surgery. Surgery cannot be performed without the consent of the parent or guardian. A discussion with the child can help here to find out whether it is a purely aesthetic operation or whether your child is really struggling with problems. Together, they can then weigh up the extent to which an operation seems sensible and whether it needs to be performed before the child turns 18.

In order to prevent unnecessary and even damaging operations on minors in the future, there is a need for education in society as well as a corresponding law, which, for example, provides for a psychological evaluation before a plastic-aesthetic operation on adolescents.