Dr. Steve Byrd Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Dallas, TX  (214) 821-9662

When is Young, TOO Young?

Botox. Walk down the street on most any block in America and you’re going to run into people who have had Botox injections. Many patients use Botox and its ability to smooth out wrinkles so that they look younger. Done properly, Botox injections, and other types of fillers can become part of a fairly conservative skin care regimen. So why is a mother in the UK buying Botox online and injecting it into her 16-year-old daughter? It gets even worse. This teenager started having Botox injections at the age of 15.

As a parent and a plastic surgeon, I hope that a parent would have better judgment than to allow their 15-year-old daughter to get Botox injections. In this case the mother had already spent about $750,000 on plastic surgery for herself. With that in mind, it becomes clear why her daughter’s self-image would be skewed. The daughter’s reasoning for using Botox is that she doesn’t want to look “old and ugly” when she’s 25. 25?? Really??

I have two plastic surgery practices in Dallas. My Children’s office deals primarily with children with craniofacial deformities. These children often go through a series of surgeries over the course of their childhood to undo some of the damage done by cleft lip and/or palate deformities. My North Park office is for adults wanting plastic/cosmetic surgery. Occasionally the patients and the practices overlap and we’ll see an older child at the adult’s office. Rhinoplasty surgeries, surgeries to correct tuberous breast deformities, and scar tissue removals are often considered for these patients. Fortunately we haven’t had any parents request Botox injections for their teenagers – so far.

A 14-year-old girl wrote in from one of our websites asking about breast reduction. She developed breast tissue very early and ever since then her life changed. Young men and boys began to pay unwanted attention to her every move. She was a young girl trapped in a woman’s body. She had grooves on her shoulders from bra straps which were digging into her flesh due to the weight of her breasts. Her back and neck ache on a daily basis due to the weight of her breasts.

While this patient could definitely benefit from immediate breast reduction surgery, at 14 she still has several more years of growth and that growth will include her breasts. At 18, her body still isn’t completely finished growing but the majority of her growth potential will be reached and it’s believed to be generally safe to proceed with the breast reduction procedure.

There are many different reasons for having plastic/cosmetic surgery;

Correct birth defects
Repairing injuries
Beauty

Patients come from all walks of life, and in all shapes and sizes. Some are young, and some are older. The question is, how young IS too young? When a young person comes in to see me, almost always parents are at the consultation, but not always. No surgery is planned until the parents are involved. This small group – surgeon, patient, parents – discuss the options, the risks, and the potential outcomes. Once we’re all agreed, we can move forward with the planned surgery. Surgeons clearly have a responsibility to guide teenagers and sometimes their parents toward a safe, healthy decision. Selecting a surgeon that you trust is key to a successful outcome regardless of the patient’s age.

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