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Plastic Surgery: It's Not Teens, It's Their Grandparents!

British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons Reveal Age Trends

London, UK - 21 March, 2005 - The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (www.baaps.org.uk), the not-for-profit organisation established for the advancement of education and practice of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for public benefit, today reveals that, despite recent media reports that large numbers of teenagers are seeking plastic surgery, it is actually older patients requesting cosmetic procedures.

Recent statistics indicate a rise in the overall number of cosmetic surgeries; however, the percentage of teenagers (those 18 and younger) having cosmetic surgery reportedly remains low. In a qualitative survey, members of the BAAPS were asked about age trends they noticed in their private practices. Most reported that there has been no discernible jump in requests from teenagers but have, in fact, seen more of an increase in older people seeking cosmetic treatments.

According to Douglas McGeorge, consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President-Elect;

"Patients are presenting over a greater age range but we're seeing more from older age ranges than younger. My oldest face lift is 81 and oldest set of eyes 82. Although some teenagers do enquire about cosmetic surgery I can't say that the numbers are large or noticeably increasing."

London-based Adriaan Grobbelaar, consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS member reported only two enquiries from teenagers in the past six months, one for a breast enlargement and one for rhinoplasty. Neither followed up for an appointment.

According to Douglas McGeorge;

"Lots of kids may talk about it but talking about cosmetic surgery is a long way from actually going and having it done yourself."

BAAPS surgeons across the country report seeing few teenage cases. Bristol-based BAAPS member Lisa Sacks reported giving an 18-year-old sports personality the breast reduction she needed to practice her sport. She also saw a 16-year-old who felt she was so fat she couldn't leave her house - Sacks referred her to a psychologist instead.

According to Lisa Sacks;

"I think we all need to be responsible. Just because teenagers think they want to have plastic surgery, even if they consult us, having saved up for the consultation fee themselves, doesn't mean we have to operate on them. We are in a very strong position to advise them against having surgery too early that they may regret."

When evaluating teenagers that are considering plastic surgery, BAAPS surgeons assess physical maturity, as continued growth could negate the effects of the procedure in later years. Emotional maturity and expectations must also be explored, as the young person should appreciate the benefits and limitations of the proposed surgery, and have realistic expectations.

According to Adam Searle, consultant plastic surgeon and President of the BAAPS;

"There are obvious situations in which plastic surgery may assist a teenager with obvious deformity, for example marked asymmetry of their breast or correction of a substantial nasal deformity. However, the complex mix of adolescence, self esteem, peer pressure and surgical treatments carries potential for problems."

The BAAPS advises any teenager contemplating plastic surgery to discuss any concerns with either their general practitioner, pediatric physician or a reputable plastic surgeon. It is useful for teenagers to be accompanied to such a consultation by a responsible adult.

According to Adam Searle;

"With the media pressures on teenagers to look good there may be an increase in requests for plastic surgery in the future."

AGE TRENDS: What Are Patients Asking For?

According to Martin Kelly, consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS member;

"Older patients usually ask to 'turn back the clock' - younger patients want to change their shape. But a number of senior patients have recently become more daring, and I believe largely because of the influence of happy younger patients they know, seeking to change their shape as well, having their nose done or breasts augmented."

Surgeons report that whilst some teenagers may be preoccupied with unsightly moles, breast reduction or rhinoplasty, those in the middle bracket -25 to 45- generally ask for body/trunk surgery (liposuction, abdominoplasty), and older patients want facial rejuvenation. Neither is this trend restricted to women: London surgeon Adrian Richards recently performed a facelift on a 77-year-old man.

According to Douglas McGeorge;

"We live in a well-off society where people now retire to start a new life. Social stigmas about cosmetic surgery are less common and as they feel young people want to look younger."

Further survey responses are available from the BAAPS press office.

For all media enquiries, please contact pr@baaps.org.uk

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