Sunday, August 27, 2006

Heavy handed comments by Aussie politician on teen Plastic Surgery procedures

New South Wales, state Premier Morris Iemma is quoted in today's Sunday Telegraph newspaper that he feels the number of people under 18 seeking enhancements has gotten out of hand.

What set this off? One, ,(pictured above). The article reports that Premier Iemma became "disturbed" when he learned that the teenaged Forscutt, a contestant on the program Big Brother, had had breast implants. Now Iemama has been inspired to introduce new laws requiring teenagers to get a referral from their doctor, have a "cooling off" period prior to surgery, and undergo counseling before receiving . Iemma's full editorial can be read here..
"It used to be the case that the biggest question parents faced was whether to give their children permission to have their ears pierced," Iemma told the paper.

"Then it was tattoos. But, increasingly, parents are being asked to fund breast implants or a nose job as birthday or graduation gifts," he added.

Ms Forscutt, who was 19 when she appeared on Big Brother, said she supported Mr Iemma's proposal for counseling under-18s. "It is a minute part of who I am. I'm more than just a pair of fake tits,'' the now 20-year-old said.

This is a pretty reactionary step without much data behind it that there indeed exists a problem to address in the first place. While some reasonable parental requirements for surgery consent in minors (much like American laws) exist, mandating a primary care doctor's "referral" for psychiatric counseling strikes me as both paternalistic and offensive.

Former Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons president Norm Olbourne said teen surgery is rare (at least in re. to breast augmentation) and that "there are the groups of girls wanting breast enlargements, although I've never seen a girl under 18 wanting one who didn't come in holding her mother's hand". Blanket responses like Iemma's give short shrift to many of the psychological consequences adolescents face when they possess particularly large, small, or deformed breasts, noses, and ears.


Anon Richards said...

Cosmetic surgery among teens is really quite alarming. I am all for cosmetic surgery but it should be done at the right time. Teenagers are just too young for that.

Dr. Rob Oliver said...

By and large most Plastic Surgeons agree with that. However, it gets a little subjective about what is appropriate or inappropriate.

Is it appropriate to perform breast reduction on a 15 year old with extremely large breasts?

Is it appropriate to perform rhinoplasty (nose-job) on someone 16 with a signifigant deviation or hump?

Is it appropriate to perform breast augmentation in a 17 year old for signifigant tubular breast deformities or Poland's syndrome (congenital abscence of the pectoralis muscle)?

Like I referred to in the title, the approach advocated by this Aussie pol is a little too broad a brush to paint with.

Thanks for the post,