Teenagers like Amy Fledderman, the young woman from Newtown Square who died after liposuction in 2001, have become increasingly interested in cosmetic surgery, experts say.
According to the Internet site WebMD, the number of young people 18 or under having cosmetic procedures increased from nearly 60,000 in 1997 to almost 225,000 in 2003. The Web site said it was citing figures compiled by the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, on its Web site, provided figures from 2006 and 2007, noting that cosmetic procedures involving 13 to 19 year olds increased 2 percent in that period, while among all patients such procedures dropped by 8 percent. The total number of procedures was 224,658.
In 2007, 4,960 liposuction surgeries were performed, up 5 percent overall from 2006, and 2 percent for 13 to 19 year olds, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
There were 10,505 breast-implant surgeries, up 15 percent overall and 3 percent among 18 and 19 year olds, according to the society's figures.
In 2007, 4,960 nose jobs were performed, it said. That included a 14 percent increase in patients aged 13 to 19. Among all patients, the number of such surgeries dropped 7 percent, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Using figures provided by the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, WebMD said more than 15,000 teens 18 or younger had nose jobs in 2000, more than 2,100 girls 18 and under had breast enlargements and 6,200 patients 18 or younger underwent liposuction in 2000.
Experts said plastic surgery was becoming more common because of our culture's emphasis on physical attractiveness, and in the case of teens, sometimes because their parents had undergone such procedures before them.
The Food and Drug Administration warned in a 2002 statement that in the case of liposuction, some studies indicate the risk of death, according to various studies ranges from as low as three deaths for every 100,000 procedures to between 20 and 100 deaths per 100,000 operations.
Aside from the dangers of anesthesia, the FDA said other complications from liposuction include infections; embolisms that may occur when pieces of fat get trapped in the blood vessels and travel to the lungs or brain; punctured organs; and fluid imbalances, which can cause heart problems, excess fluid collecting in the lungs, and kidney problems. *