July 6, 2022

Germany uneasy about teen cosmetic surgery

The German government is drafting legislation to ban cosmetic surgery for teenagers except for medical reasons. At the moment, there is no minimum age. As a result, patients under 20 account for about 10% of all cosmetic procedures, according to the Association of German Plastic Surgeons.

The German government is drafting legislation to ban cosmetic surgery for teenagers except for medical reasons. At the moment, there is no minimum age. As a result, patients under 20 account for about 10% of all cosmetic procedures, according to the Association of German Plastic Surgeons.  These include operations like breast enlargements, nose jobs and abdominal liposuction.

“For good reasons, the state protects young people from themselves as far as alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking go, and we think it’s high time it did the same with regard to unnecessary and often risky cosmetic operations,” a health adviser to the Christian Democratic Union, Jens Spahn, told Die Welt.

However, the bill is being opposed by a junior party in the governing coalition, the Free Democratic Party. “We have yet to be presented with specific reasons or reliable facts with regard to this,” says Heinz Lanfermann. In his opinion, the boundaries between medical necessity and a purely cosmetic operation are often “extremely unclear.”

According to a briefing paper for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 219,000 cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were performed on Americans aged 13-19 in 2010. Maturity is an important consideration, it says.

“Teenagers who want to have plastic surgery usually have different motivations and goals than adults. They often have plastic surgery to improve physical characteristics they feel are awkward or flawed, that if left uncorrected, may affect them well into adulthood. Teens tend to have plastic surgery to fit in with peers, to look similar. Adults tend to have plastic surgery to standout from others.”

Time, May 3

Michael Cook
Creative commons
cosmetic surgery
Germany