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More teens getting plastic surgery, some docs blame social media

With cosmetic procedures becoming more common in patients age 13 to 19, some doctors are warning people not to go under the knife too young.
Credit: WTSP
WTSP 10News reporter Liz Crawford using a social media filter that enhances her cheek bones, enlarges her lips, and smooths her skin.

New data found in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of American Society of Plastic Surgeons, shows there's been an increase in teens seeking plastic surgery. 

More than 200,000 patients between the ages of 13-19 had a cosmetic procedure done in 2017.

While these surgeries are intended to enhance someone's appearance and make them more confident, some doctors fear these procedures could do more harm than good on a young person.

"Your face continues to change so you don’t want to do something and then several years later, the patient will regret it because they’re still adapting, still growing into their bodies," said Dr. Demetri Arnaoutakis, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon located in Tampa. "Also from a psychological perspective, you need to make sure the teenager is mature enough to understand what they’re about to go through."

RELATED: ‘Snapchat dysmorphia’ fuels new, cartoonish plastic surgery requests, experts say

Arnaoutakis believes social media is a big reason more teenagers are coming through his door. 

"There are a couple of apps, one called facetune that you can edit your nose. So a lot of people that come in seeking a rhinoplasty procedure or nose job, they’ve already edited their nose so they show it to me and the say this is what I like," Arnaoutakis said.

One woman we spoke to had two nose jobs and a breast augmentation before she was 18. She is now 23 and says it was about building confidence.

"I was very insecure and I think in middle school, it impacted me a lot because I’d hear the comments like 'big nose' and stuff like that," she told us.

Although the woman says she doesn't regret her surgeries and she spent a lot of time doing research and talking to her parents, she believes social media is creating unrealistic expectations.

"That’s what it’s all about now, how you look in pictures," she said.

That's why Dr. Arnaoutakis is sure to vet his young patients before he agrees to their surgery. 

"You have to take a step back with these patients and say hey, I’m here to help you but I want you to be realistic with your expectations," he said.

RELATED: Stylized selfies and filtered faces are seen as reality in the age of social media distortion

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