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Plastic surgery for teenagers?

Posted by on Apr. 10, 2015 at 7:52 AM
  • 11 Replies


'I Let My Bullied Teenager Get Plastic Surgery Because Puberty Is Rough Enough'

allison kramer after rhinoplasty

When Debbi Kramer's daughter Allison was 15, she wanted one thing more than any other: a nose job. And Kramer gave it to her. But this isn't another story of a teenager growing up too fast or an overbearing mom attempting to perfect her offspring's appearance with plastic surgery.

In a world where looks are everything and everyone is always looking -- on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, should we go on? -- we forget that plastic surgery serves other reasons than purely aesthetic ones. For some people  -- especially teenagers, already struggling to feel comfortable in their own skin -- cosmetic surgery can be a positive, life-changing experience. And for parents like Debbi who consent to it, providing that opportunity to their child can be both a joy and a relief.

Allison (now 20) was 12 when she first started complaining about her nose. "She was beginning puberty and her nose overwhelmed her entire face," recalls Debbi, 55, a married mom of two from Staten Island, NY.

The nicknames Debbi's youngest daughter was given by her classmates were cruel: "Potato nose," "rhino face," "ugly duckling," -- even "Pinocchio."

"No one ever tried to physically harm her [but] it was mental abuse," says Debbi. "Puberty is rough anyway and this just added to it."

Although an honor student, Allison shied away from extracurricular activities and wasn't invited to dances, even after she started high school. Her mom felt helpless. "I knew she wouldn't grow out of this situation," she says.

That's because "the big nose dilemma," as Debbi calls it, has run in her family for three generations. Debbi's mother, sister, and even Debbi herself were born with noses they hated. After a horrific car accident, Debbi's mother eventually had her nose fixed. Once she realized what a transformative experience it was, she wanted the same for her daughters.

Back in 1977, rhinoplasty was vastly different than it is today. (Debbi was awake throughout the entire procedure and still vividly remembers a "hammer" breaking her nose). But the change in her appearance gave Debbi a lifelong boost of self-esteem.

When Allison turned 15, she, too, began asking Debbi for plastic surgery. "She was constantly on the Internet searching for others...who'd just had rhinplasty," remembers Debbi. "She searched for plastic surgeons online every day for months."

allison kramer before rhinoplasty

Seeing how serious Allison was, Debbi made an appointment for them to meet with Dr. Jennifer L. Walden, a board-certified cosmetic plastic surgeon who now practices in Austin, Texas. Listening to Allison speak with the doctor, Debbi was struck with how mature her teenaged daughter sounded.

Instead of having "crazy expectations," says Debbi, "Allison didn't want to change. She just wanted to improve her nose and feel more confident."

By the time they left the office, Debbi was excited -- not only because they felt they'd found the perfect surgeon but because she felt hopeful Allison would finally feel better about herself.

In 2014, more than 31,000 plastic surgeries were performed on patients 18 and younger, according to The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The top body part kids wanted to change? Their ears. Rhinoplasty was the second most sought-after operation, and breast augmentation (meaning a reduction or enlargement) a distant third.

"Plastic surgery for certain concerns, such as a large beak or hooked nose, prominent ears, or extremely large breasts, can help teenagers who experience angst over these issues," says Dr. Walden. "In a matter of hours, their life can change dramatically."

Unfortunately, the cost is not cheap. Health insurance typically doesn't cover elective surgery, so to afford the $7,000 surgery for Allison, Debbi and her husband dipped into their savings and sold some jewelry.

The day of the rhinoplasty, Debbi stayed by her daughter's side until she was wheeled into the operating room. "It was the first time Allison had been in a hospital except the day she was born, her first surgery and first time with anesthesia," Debbi says, "but she was a real trooper."

During the two-hour operation, an incision was made at the bottom of Allison's nose, then the bone inside carefully broken and reshaped. Afterwards, Allison went right home. The three days following surgery were "uncomfortable," says Debbi, since Allison wasn't yet able to breathe through her nose. A frozen bag of peas helped the swelling. But although she was "black and blue," Debbi says, "she couldn't stop looking at her profile!"

After two weeks, Allison's cast came off and just as she (and Debbi) had hoped, the change was transforming. "I thought her phone would break from all the selfies she was taking," Debbi jokes.

allison kramer after rhinoplastyDuring the remaining two years of high school, Allison joined clubs and tried different activities. She went to her prom and was invited to two others. Today, Allison, now 20, is a junior at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, happily studying fashion merchandising and management.

"She's still my Allison, a bright, compassionate girl, [but] now a more confident person," says Debbi. "Plastic surgery isn't something you do to look like someone else. It's something you [agree to] to improve on the wonderful child you already have."

 

allison kramer before and after rhinoplasty

 

What would it take for you to let your child have plastic surgery?

by on Apr. 10, 2015 at 7:52 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Aslen
by Member on Apr. 10, 2015 at 7:54 AM
1 mom liked this
Nope.

Reconstructive surgery? Yes

ETA: i think this sends the wrong message. It's saying that you have to conform to other people's idea if beauty, or you're not pretty.
kyledavidsmom
by Tara on Apr. 10, 2015 at 9:54 AM
1 mom liked this
I have to agree with you.

I have a family member who also did something like this at 16. She went from being bullied to being popular. She also went to being sexually bullied. She had some bad things happen to her.

She is now 20 and wished she never changed herself. She now speaks in schools about her story. She tells people they shouldn't change who they are. You are you and your beautiful. We are all different but yet we are all beautiful. Her parents regret letting her go through with her plastic surgeries.

Just cause we are not all pretty as the next. Or skinny or smart or have a lot of money. Does not make us any different than the next person.

I think a lot of it is we as a nation. Are not teaching these kids that it's wrong to talk about others or to pick on them. We are all human we bleed the same we feel the same we hurt the same. I can not tell you how many times kids say things. The parents hear it but allow it to happen. If my kids say things about others and they hear it. I turn to my kids and tell them they were wrong. We are all different but that don't give others a right to put them down. I than make them apologize so they know not to do it again.

Sorry so long this just struck me the wrong way.


Quoting Aslen: Nope.

Reconstructive surgery? Yes

ETA: i think this sends the wrong message. It's saying that you have to conform to other people's idea if beauty, or you're not pretty.
e-doolittle
by Kelly on Apr. 10, 2015 at 3:38 PM

It would have to be injury related not to change something they were born with.

mumsy2three
by Shauna on Apr. 10, 2015 at 9:32 PM
1 mom liked this
It would have to be something medically necessary or for reconstruction purposes.
trulyblessed618
by Bronze Member on Apr. 10, 2015 at 9:39 PM
I'm up in the air on this one...you should be happy with who you are but sometimes a slight change can also make all the difference in how you feel.
Mrs_Sweet
by Bronze Member on Apr. 10, 2015 at 10:06 PM
I have mixed feelings. We shouldn't encourage our kids to feel bad about themselves and think they need to "fix" the unique things about them. But if this kid was truly miserable maybe this works for them. I wonder though if she will regret it when she is older.
KylesMom409
by Linnette on Apr. 10, 2015 at 10:35 PM
I agree.

Quoting e-doolittle:

It would have to be injury related not to change something they were born with.

PeaceMuch
by Bronze Member on Apr. 11, 2015 at 3:17 AM
Same. I have mixed feelings. I haven't hated something so much on my body I feel I need surgery to correct so I don't know how that feels.

Quoting trulyblessed618: I'm up in the air on this one...you should be happy with who you are but sometimes a slight change can also make all the difference in how you feel.
princessmom2005
by on Apr. 11, 2015 at 10:29 AM
If it were medically necessary or for reconstructive purposes, yes.
lalasmama2007
by on Apr. 14, 2015 at 9:58 PM

It would have to be medically necessary or reconstructive surgery due to an accident.

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