creators home lifestyle web
robert wallace


Buckle Up and Stay Safe TEENS: You might feel uncomfortable strapped into your seat riding in an automobile, but riders should buckle up every time if they value life and health. Riding around unbelted is unwise. Accidents happen without warning, and people who are wearing …Read more. It Doesn't Take Long to Be Hooked DR. WALLACE: My younger brother is 13, and he has been hanging around with some guys who he thinks are really cool. They think they are being "adult" by smoking cigarettes, and now my brother has started smoking, too. I've tried to discourage him …Read more. I'm a Bitter Teacher DR. WALLACE: I read recently that our schools should provide more after-school activities for students who could be classified as "home alone" students. I object! I'm a junior high school teacher. Students come to school to learn the basic skills of …Read more. Teacher-Student Hugging Is Dicey DR. WALLACE: A popular teacher at our school is a "hugger." Every day he hugs one or two girls before or after class, but he never plays favorites. Both my best friend and I have been hugged several times but there is nothing sexual about his hugs. …Read more.
more articles

Is Cosmetic Surgery Necessary for Teens?


TEENS: I'm often asked if cosmetic surgery is appropriate for a teenager. Celebrity admiration, resulting from television shows, movies and videos, has influenced teens to seek and endure cosmetic surgery without hesitation or acknowledgment of risks. However, cosmetic procedure is still a medical process and should be treated as such, especially by teens.

How can parents know if and when a cosmetic procedure is appropriate for their teen? Dr. Roy G. Geronemus, director of the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of New York and a past president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, cautions that "No matter what procedure the teen desires, precautions must be considered to ensure a safe and successful outcome." He offers the following advice for making informed decisions regarding cosmetic procedures:


1. Do carefully review all reasons why cosmetic surgery is desired. Procedures should be considered to correct genetic or acquired physical scarring or disfigurement or for conditions that dramatically impair a teen's sense of confidence and self-esteem.

2. Do use alternative methods to avoid unnecessary procedures. Teens should be sure that cosmetic surgery is the only solution. For example, liposuction to reshape problem areas like thighs and hips may be successfully treated by increasing exercise, which is proven more effective.

3. Do make sure procedures are safe and effective for teens under 18. Procedures such as laser surgery for acne scars are proven successful for younger teens, however, liposuction and breast augmentation are discouraged for anyone under 18 because their body has not stopped growing.


Do choose a certified dermasurgeon to perform/supervise the procedure. Always be sure that the doctor is board certified in dermatology and can perform any type of skin-related procedure.


1. Don't undergo a cosmetic procedure on a whim. Elective surgery is sometimes chosen based on a trend or a fad among teens or undergone as a "caught up in the moment" decision. Teens need to realize that there is more to cosmetic procedures than what is perceived on television.

2. Don't rely on a procedure to increase popularity. It's not uncommon for teens to believe that by enhancing their appearance, they may become more popular among their peers or get someone to notice them — but this isn't reason enough to undergo a serious surgical procedure.

3. Don't think a procedure is risk-free. Even the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures carry side effects such as redness, swelling and pain. More serious complications can include infection, scarring and death.

4. Don't view cosmetic surgery as a solution to a larger issue. Anorexia Nervosa and body dysmorphic disorders are increasingly common among teens. Parents should look for these conditions and assist their children in seeking professional help from a trained specialist before considering cosmetic procedures.

Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



2 Comments | Post Comment
I guess my first sense is, cosmetic surgery should be used only to correct a real flaw or injury, and -- as pointed out -- not to correct perceived flaws or done on a whim.

I was thinking: This costs money, right? Even a cosmetic makeovoer costs less, but then again, it's even less expensive to do things like diet (healthy dieting, not anything that is dangerous) or just simply have self-esteem and being happy with who you are.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Bobaloo
Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:52 AM
Simple answer is generalizations encourage stupidity.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Diana
Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:41 AM
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right: comments policy
Dr. Robert Wallace
Dec. `15
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
29 30 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month