Girls as young as 13 requesting plastic surgery in UAE
ABU DHABI // Teenage girls are now under so much pressure to look attractive that they are requesting plastic surgery when they are as young as 13.
Cosmetic enhancements are now seen as ‘normal’ among young women fuelled by insecurity and media pressure to look perfect, say plastic surgeons across the emirates who believe 18 should be a minimum requirement for invasive surgery.
“I think, unfortunately, the moment young teenagers start to read beauty magazines or pour over the internet or are negatively influenced by their peers to look right or to look beautiful, they start thinking about what they can change,” said Dr Roberto Viel, a plastic surgeon based at London Center for Aesthetic Surgery.
“We really think it is important that parents set the right guidelines and support, and teach the next generation to understand that nobody looks that perfect without the help of photo shop.”
His twin brother Dr Maurizio Viel, also a plastic surgeon, said he has personally had requests for surgery from teenage girls.
“We do see young teenage girls, not often, come in at 16 with their parents,” he said. “But we usually turn them away unless it is more a severe case such as dealing with effects of bullying because of ‘sticking out ears’ or similar cases.
“The earliest we would consider is 18-years-old because the body by medical standards has already fully developed but again these are not common requests.”
Dr Afschin Ghofrani, medical director of Aestheticon, a plastic surgery clinic in Dubai, said start thinking about plastic surgery much earlier than 15 years ago.
“We get requests from increasingly young people for aesthetic enhancements like wrinkle reduction by injection or other treatments to prevent signs of ageing before they even show,” he said.
The plastic and aesthetic surgeon said he often turns down such requests.
“If there is no clear evidence of ageing of the concerned area or understanding of the pros and cons of the treatments then we don’t go ahead but advise to wait until the conditions for such treatments are right,” he said.
“The reason is better knowledge of what is possible and refinements of the procedures making them safer with less downtime.
The youngest person requesting aesthetic surgery was 13 years old, he said.
“She came to my practice with her parents, who supported her wish. I have a clear policy not to entertain such request until the patient has reached a legal age of at least 18 years and the request must make sense to me.”
Dr Matteo Vigo said people of all ages and backgrounds visit the hospital.
the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital.
“People can become very interested in plastic surgery from a young age,” he said. “However, we would never perform a cosmetic procedure on a patient under the age of 18 — it is vital they wait until the development of the body and puberty is complete.
“The only surgery we would potentially perform on patients under the age of 18 would be the correction of protruding ears (otoplasty). This is an abnormality that can sometimes cause huge emotional problems and can be corrected easily with a small procedure.”
More on plastic surgery in the UAE:
Demand for enhancements from men and women is continuing to grow in the UAE, especially in Dubai, which has more practitioners for each head of population than any other city. Girls as young as 13 are requesting plastic surgery as the pressure to fit society’s definition of beauty becomes too much. The most popular operations in the UAE include liposuction, breast enlargements and reductions, and facelifts. And the use of stem cells is set to make plastic surgery even more popular. Aesthetic surgery will play its part in Dubai’s ambitious plan to become a global centre for medical tourism.
Updated: April 6, 2015 04:00 AM