Recently, when an 8-year-old Ohio girl underwent a plastic surgery procedure to reduce the size of her ears, many people rejoiced that the child, Tatum Gordon, could finally be happy with her appearance. Gordon had long been teased for the size and shape of her ears, and following the surgical procedure she could finally return to school with confidence. But the surgery raised ethical questions as well - namely, how young is too young for plastic surgery?
"I don’t really think there’s such a thing as an across-the-board age that’s appropriate for plastic surgery," says Dr. Ryan Mitchell, a plastic surgeon from Henderson, Nevada. "In the Gordon case, her ears were reshaped. It wasn’t a surgery that would have benefited her by waiting longer to do. It also was probably not a surgery that would have made sense to perform on her were she any younger."
Mitchell says that many clinics have a minimum age at which they are willing to operate on a patient. In 2007, the FDA ruled that teenagers must be at least 18 to undergo breast augmentation. According to Mitchell, this decision was made for both mental and physical reasons.
"By 18 the body should be done growing and be out of puberty. So, chances are you aren’t operating on a body that isn’t done growing yet," he says. "That, and at 18, legally you are an adult and should be able to make this type of decision for yourself."
But turning 18 doesn’t quite open the plastic surgery floodgates, either.
With medical care costs in the United States among the highest in the world, getting quality care can be difficult for some patients to afford - especially if they lack medical insurance, or if their care is not covered by insurance. As a result, some creditors have created medical-financing programs to help address this issue.
Lenders like CareCredit, Sofi and Lightstream offer private financing for patients seeking to pay for everything from dental surgery to plastic surgery and even pet procedures. But while these credit programs may seem like a straightforward way to break up costly medical bills without having to delay the care you need, many consumers don’t realize some credit programs come with hidden pitfalls that could end up costing them a lot more than they bargained for.
The problems often begin because patients don’t realize they’re enrolling in private financing. That’s because it wasn’t too long ago that many doctors offered payment plans through their practice. Today, while some still offer this service, collecting debts has proven to be too costly and time consuming, and many practices have instead opted to accept private credit plans.
"Private credit plans allow the doctor to receive the payment in full, up front, without the patient having to wait to receive treatment," says Dr. Ryan Mitchell, a plastic surgeon from Henderson, Nevada. "I believe it streamlines the payment process by taking the doctor out of the equation. The last thing your doctor wants to do is nag you for payment."
Unfortunately, while these credit plans do have their benefits, some patients simply don’t understand what they’re signing up for when they apply for financing. For example, some plans offer zero interest if the balance of the loan is paid within a specified amount of time, but some patients miss that crucial last detail.
Plastic surgery is one of those topics that everyone has an opinion about, regardless of whether they’ve had it done or not. For some people, it’s considered elitist and only for the rich and famous. For others, it’s considered unnecessary and risky, and to some, it’s just wasteful, because they feel people should just embrace what makes them different. But to a growing number of people, these outdated opinions about plastic surgery are becoming a thing of the past.
Recently, plastic surgery social network RealSelf released the findings of a survey on attitudes toward plastic surgery, and the results show signs of a major shift in thinking about the field.
"The good news is that when asked if their partner's desire to get a cosmetic procedure would change how they felt about their partner, 45 percent of respondents said it wouldn’t change how they felt about them," says Dr. Ryan Mitchell, a plastic surgeon from Henderson, Nevada. "Another 38 percent said it would depend on what procedure their partner wanted. Only 13 percent said it would make them think negatively of their partner."
While RealSelf did not provide any data for attitudes toward plastic surgery from previous years, Mitchell says it should be interesting to watch the changes from today on.
"Hopefully they will make this a regular survey and can monitor the changing attitudes toward this field over time," he says. "Because I think the more people see their friends and family and neighbors are accepting of this kind of surgery, the more they’ll be accepting of it themselves."
It’s safe to say that big behinds are having their moment in the spotlight these days. With celebrities like the Kardashian sisters, Jennifer Lopez and Nicki Minaj stealing headlines left and right, all eyes are on them - and their curves. So, it’s not surprising that across America, women are flocking to plastic surgeons’ offices for silicone butt implants and Brazilian Butt-Lifts. But many patients don’t realize that these procedures come with a lot of different risks, as well as pluses and minuses. We asked Henderson, Nevada, plastic surgeon Dr. Ryan Mitchell what patients should know before they head to a plastic surgeon to pump up their posterior.
"There are two main methods for achieving a butt-lift: silicone implants or the Brazilian Butt-Lift, which is a fat-grafting procedure," says Mitchell. "The surgeon removes the fat from one area of your body - usually the abdomen, hips or thighs - and implants that fat into your buttocks to give them more volume."
Mitchell says that while both procedures have their pros and cons, the Brazilian is generally better tolerated because it uses the body’s own fat.
"There’s nothing for the body to reject, because the fat is already part of your body. Plus you get a nice liposuction procedure while you’re at it," he says with a laugh.