How Young is Too Young? Plastic Surgeon Speaks Out


Harrisburg breast enhancement specialist Dr. John Stratis offers a professional viewpoint on a startling trend: mothers encouraging their young daughters to have plastic surgery.

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania (January 2012) – Dr. John Stratis of Stratis Gayner Plastic Surgery ( is concerned about the recent media attention being paid to mothers who advocate that their daughters undergo plastic surgery and non-surgical facial treatments, such as BOTOX®. In Harrisburg, Dr. Stratis says he has not had any requests to treat young girls, but he feels strongly about such procedures for children.

"When I read the recent ABC News report about a British mother who gave her 7-year-old daughter a voucher for liposuction, I was shocked," Dr. Stratis says. "Thankfully, such cases are rare. But the fact that the media are drawing attention to these situations may account for the increase in them."

The ABC report noted that the mother, known in the United Kingdom as "The Human Barbie," previously had given her daughter a birthday present of a voucher for breast augmentation, which she said her daughter could have when she turns 16.

Although regulations differ in the U.K. concerning breast implants, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that a woman be at least 18 years old to undergo breast augmentation with implants, and only women 22 and older have the option of silicone gel implants.

Dr. Stratis, who specializes in Harrisburg breast enhancement surgery, considers the procedure to be extremely risky for a teenager. He is also concerned that the mother is sending her daughter a message that future plastic surgery is essential.

"Before I perform any procedure, I carefully and thoroughly evaluate my patient's health and personal motivations for the surgery," Dr. Stratis says. "I conduct this analysis to ensure that my patient is physically healthy and also to make sure that her motivations are realistic.

"As a board-certified plastic surgeon, I am committed to providing my patients with the highest level of safety and quality. If a teenager told me that she wanted a procedure like breast implants at my Harrisburg, PA practice, I would talk with her in-depth about her motivation. Her options also would be limited to saline implants due to FDA regulations."

He said he would also question the mother's motivation.

"Mothers should protect their daughters and instill confidence in them," Dr. Stratis says. "Then they can make sound decisions for themselves when they reach adulthood.

"A valid reason for plastic surgery for a child might be ear surgery. Children with protruding ears are often ridiculed by their peers, which can hurt their self-esteem. In such cases, my colleague, Dr. Scott Gayner, who is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon, would evaluate the child to determine if this procedure was appropriate."

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