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How old is “old enough” for plastic surgery? Is there an appropriate age to consider it? A recent episode of Good Morning America on teen plastic surgery raises some important points for discussion.

Helping people feel comfortable with themselves is the reason I do what I do: changing a minor “defect” externally to affect the internal perception, thus improving lives and relationships.

The real trick is to try to determine who is the appropriate candidate. Age is a relative number. It is the maturity—physically and emotionally—that helps me determine if the person is a candidate. Having parental involvement is absolutely essential with minors, and I will often discuss with them separately from the patient.

I have to see the area of concern as something I feel truly impacts the person’s self-perception. If the body part is grossly out of the ordinary I will likely understand more, rather than a subtle hump on the nose as the girl in the video. Teenagers with very uneven breasts or females with no breasts at all are often highly impacted.

Young males with gynecomastia are another prime example. A simple operation frees them from worry, harassment and bullying in gym class or at the swimming pool or even deciding what shirt to wear to class or a party.

We are all imperfect humans trying to cope in an highly judgmental, imperfect world that strives for unobtainable perfection, particularly in the teen years of self-discovery, extreme insecurity and the innate desire to “just fit in.” Yes, there is a time and a place for teen plastic surgery, but the line is never quite as defined as we would like it to be.

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