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Cosmetic Surgery for Younger Patients

Sydney cosmetic plastic surgeon, Dr. Darryl Hodgkinson, explains to Jodie Thomson some precedures are suitable to be performed on younger patients.

Most people think of cosmetic surgery as something for adults, and indeed it is. But it also plays an important role for younger patients with a physical deformity or irregular features, explains Sydney cosmetic plastic surgeon Dr Darryl Hodgkinson.

‘All parents understand that body image and peer group acceptance are important for teenage development,’ Dr Hodgkinson says. ‘They are more likely to socialise better, perform better at school and develop skills that will serve them throughout their lives.

‘An outstanding physical problem is more likely to be the subject of teasing and negative peer responses. This may contribute to a negative self-image and if we can appropriately intervene we will.’

What’s essential is choosing the right time to have the surgery. ‘Cleft lip and palate surgery need to be performed very early, before they go to school, because it affects speech development,’ Dr Hodgkinson says. ‘We can also pin children’s ears back at around six to seven years.

Even nose surgery can have a dramatic impact on a child’s self image and the 14- to 16-year-old age group may be a good time for that. ‘Noses are pretty much fully grown by then and correcting an extremely large, deformed or twisted nose can transform the whole face,’ Dr Hodgkinson says.

For procedures such as breast surgery, the later teenage years may be an appropriate time. ‘Teenage girls who are over or underdeveloped or significantly asymmetrical can be very psychologically affected,’ Dr Hodgkinson says.

For any surgery with teenagers, Dr Hodgkinson warns that the parents should be involved at every stage and the child’s motivation should be carefully explored. According to Dr Hodgkinson, performed at the right time cosmetic surgery can have a positive impact on a child’s life. acsm