Plastic surgeons have made a positive move to try and prevent increasing numbers of potentially vulnerable younger people seeking cosmetic procedures.
The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) has spoken out in a responsible move to make people aware that some of these youngsters can be vulnerable and may have issues with self-esteem that will not be solved simply by cosmetic surgery or aesthetic procedures.
BAAPS surgeons performed 50,122 cosmetic procedures last year, marking an increase of 17 per cent on 2012. There are no figures specifically focusing on the age of these patients, but BAAPS members have noticed an increase in younger people requesting procedures and want to take positive action to ensure that every person who opts for surgery is capable of making an informed choice.
Michael Cadier, the BAAPS president elect, said that surgical procedures were often ‘too big’ for very young people, citing their immaturity as one of the main reasons behind his comments. He said there were other avenues that these youngsters should be looking at before even considering surgery.
In a survey of 310 people, aged from 15 years, for the BBC’s Newsbeat programme, however, a total of 64 people said they had undergone cosmetic surgery and most were extremely happy with the results. One 22-year-old, known only as Hannah, said she now has breast implants and said even her parents had noticed her increased levels of self-confidence.
More than half of the people surveyed who said they had not had any cosmetic surgery said they would consider it in the future. Among these, was 18-year-old Ella, from Ashurst in the New Forest, who claimed to have wanted a breast enlargement since she was just 11-years-old.
This young girl already has a therapist, however, who has made her aware that while surgery may be a viable option, it will not solve every problem in her life. Psychologist Emma Kenny says some young people may still have issues with their self-confidence even after they have undergone surgery, and so this must be considered in order that people can make a truly informed choice.
They must also understand that even the most successful surgery will not automatically transform them into their favourite superstar, something that obviously still prompts some youngsters to seek surgery. A 2013 report by Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS medical director, discovered that a huge 41 per cent of girls in the seven to 10 years category said they felt under pressure to look as good as celebrities. This was even higher in the 11 to 16-year-old age group, where 63 per cent of girls admitted to feeling this way.
BAAPS council member Ash Mosahebi has called on the government to help stamp out immoral behaviour by a minority of unscrupulous cosmetic procedure practitioners, saying that this is vital to ensure public safety.