Plastic surgeons’ association says that teenagers should only have cosmetic surgery in exceptional cases

Media statement- 27 August 2008

The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) said that cosmetic surgery should always be conducted in the patient’s best interest.  It says that the decision to perform plastic surgery on a teenager should only be made in exceptional circumstances and with parental consent.

Hamish Laing, consultant plastic surgeon and member of BAPRAS, said:

“While it is normal for teenagers to worry about their looks it should never be commonplace for young people to have or consider cosmetic surgery.  Surgeons work under strict guidelines and it is their responsibility to weigh up the pros and cons for each person in a responsible and focused manner in the best interests of their patient. As a general rule, children who are still growing would not be considered candidates for appearance change here in the UK.  

“Cosmetic surgery procedures are very rarely performed on children who are still growing, except in cases of congenital deformity.  Rhinoplasty, for example, would not usually be undertaken on a child whose nose is still growing and the same goes for breast surgery.

“As well as physical immaturity, teenagers may not have developed the emotional strength to enable them to cope with a permanent change of appearance, the complications of surgery or the failure of surgery to meet their expectations.

“Occasionally, and only in exceptional cases, young patients are recommended for cosmetic surgery if their appearance is such that it causes them mental health problems.  It is certainly usual for reconstructive surgery to correct deformities but all cases need expert, individual consideration with the full support of the parent or guardian and sometimes the involvement of other health professionals.”

Teenagers and Botox

Botulinum toxin (Botox or Vistabel) is a powerful chemical agent that paralyses muscle and is used to lessen the appearance of wrinkles.  Its use and administration is restricted to prespcription by a doctor on a named-patient basis.  It should only ever be administered after careful medical examination of the patient.

Chris Khoo, consultant plastic surgeon and member of BAPRAS, said:

Anyone considering having cosmetic treatments must think carefully about the risks and benefits of the treatment and get advice from an experienced practitioner as to whether the treatment is suitable.  Cosmetic surgery or procedures are not always the right answer and it is very unlikely that someone in their teens will receive any benefit from having Botulinum toxin injections.”


About cosmetic surgery
Cosmetic surgery means operations that revise or change appearance, colour, texture, structural position of body features to achieve what patients perceive to be more desirable. 


BAPRAS, the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, is the voice of plastic surgery in the UK. It aims to increase the understanding of the professional specialty and scope of plastic surgery, promoting innovation in teaching, learning and research.

Founded in 1946 (originally as the British Association of Plastic Surgeons), today BAPRAS has over 800 members and is the professional representative body for reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgeons providing services to patients on the NHS and privately in the UK.

Members of the public can find a member plastic surgeon in their area by logging on to Anyone can check the GMC to find out if a surgeon is on the plastic surgery specialist register.