Teenage plastic surgery is surging

Some U.S. teenagers will debut more than their tans and new clothes when they head back to school this fall. New noses, breasts or other enhancements of physical features from plastic surgery procedures were purposefully scheduled during the summer in advance of the back-to-school season, the New York Daily News reported. The surgical trend among young patients, which tends to peak when students are on break from school, leading to an increase every summer, has seen a recent uptick.

“Between social media and reality television, nobody thinks twice about plastic surgery anymore, and it trickles down to the teens,” said Dr. Matthew Schulman, a surgeon who works in New York City. “That was virtually unheard of five years ago.”

People less than 19 years of age account for about 236,000 of the estimated 15.1 million cosmetic procedures performed in the U.S. each year, according to the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. Their most common operations are on noses, ears, breasts and acne scars. Whereas adults use plastic surgery to stand out, teenagers usually try it to fit in or make their lives easier, according to the society’s website.

“Teens often request nose reshaping or rhinoplasty surgery over long breaks before the school year to give themselves a fresh start for the year ahead,” New York City surgeon Dr. Sam Rizk told the Health News Digest. Rizk added he wouldn’t operate on a young person whose nose looked and worked fine.

Other influences include celebrities who admit to having work done, such as Kylie Jenner, or bullying at school. A March study from the British charity Ditch the Label found half of surveyed teens said they wanted to change something about their appearance, with teeth whitening and breast implant procedures topping the list.

With average recovery times ranging from a week to a month, those procedures fit neatly into students’ summer breaks. “I feel so much better,” an anonymous San Francisco 18-year-old who had a nose job this summer told the Daily News. “People are so quick to judge if you get a nose job or something, like, ‘Oh, she’s fake,’ or ‘She’s just trying to be pretty.’ They don’t know the real story behind [how] uncomfortable I’ve been.”