I read with interest Sandra Boodman's Oct. 26 front-page article, "For More Teenage Girls, Adult Plastic Surgery," but I must clarify the reality of teens pursuing cosmetic plastic surgery in the United States.
Boodman writes that "the enormous popularity of reality TV shows as well as an explosion of Web sites that extol the virtues of cosmetic medicine, has fueled the desire of adolescent girls to alter their bodies permanently and they are finding more surgeons willing to oblige them." For the record, there is no epidemic of teenage plastic surgery. Patients 18 and younger make up only 4 percent of the cosmetic plastic surgery population, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
As it relates to breast implants, the ASPS fully supports the FDA's approval of saline breast implants for women 18 and older. To that end, the ASPS is working on a policy statement for members that will guide them to carefully evaluate teenage breast augmentation candidates.
Additionally, the ASPS has a briefing paper on teenage plastic surgery and a patient education brochure, "Information for Women, Silicone Breast Implant Surgery," which are available at www.plasticsurgery.org.
-- Scott L. Spear
Arlington Heights, Ill.
The writer is president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.