Teens Getting Plastic Surgery

By: Litsa Pappas Email
By: Litsa Pappas Email
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HARRISONBURG -- Do you ever want to change something about the way you look? Many people turn to plastic surgery for help, but how young is too young to go under the knife?

Alex Hickman got a nose job when she was just 17 years old.

"I felt like my nose was like a potato on my face," said Alex.

She described what prompted her to get the surgery.

"It just bothered me that like people were talking about it behind my back and stuff and the fact that they were saying anything at all."

One boy, who wanted to remain anonymous, felt awkward around others too, but for a different reason. He had extra tissue in his breasts and said they just kept getting bigger.

"I knew it wasn't normal," he said.

He tried to hide it by wearing extra t-shirts.

"Having to wear t-shirts all the time, I got really hot."

And at just 13 years old, he turned to plastic surgery.

"One time I went to my mom and was like, 'this has got to go."

Vicky, his mom, supported the idea.

"I was surprised, but I noticed that they were getting bigger, and he was getting taller and slimmer and that wasn't changing, so we were all for it."

With summer coming up, the surgery would help prevent a potentially uncomfortable situation.

"I just didn't want to have to go into that summer and have to wear a t-shirt in the pool."

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than 130,000 kids under the age of 18 got plastic surgery in the last year. Dr. Saied Asfa with Asfa Plastic Surgery says he's seeing that increase of kids coming here in the Valley to get work done.

"It is okay to wait, but when something needs to be fixed and it's the right time, why should kids suffer?" said Dr. Asfa.

He discussed what the most common surgeries for kids are.

"Rhinoplasty, nose job, fixing their ears, or reducing the size of the breasts for male and female."

He also gave a few common reasons for kids to get surgery.

"It's something that can change the social life for the kid. It can definitely change the way they're going to live, give them self-esteem."

April Howard, a school counselor, says plastic surgery is just one option to deal with self-esteem and that it's up to parents to help a child decide what's best and whether surgery is necessary.

"I think it's important to explore all the other supports within the community that can be put in place to help a child as they make a decision like this, including counseling and parental support," said Howard.

Many say it's too drastic for kids and that it's an extreme way to deal with bullying. Plus, it costs several thousand dollars, but for some parents, it's not too expensive to help a child.

"You can't really put a price tag on how your child's feelings and confidence, so to us it was not," said Vicky.

Her son says now he's not embarrassed to be in front of other kids and he can buy smaller clothes.

"I got muscle tees and stuff like that now," he said.

For Alex, it's a matter of self-confidence.

"I don't have to worry about the potato on my nose."

It's a quick fix that these teens say was well worth it.

"It's frowned upon for younger people to get it, but if it helps your confidence, I don't see what the problem is, and it really does help your confidence. If you find that you're self conscience about something, get it fixed if you have the opportunity."

Dr. Asfa says some surgeries, usually ear pinning and nose jobs, require kids to be a certain age.

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