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Originally published December 14 2009

160,000 U.S. Children Had Cosmetic Surgery in 2008

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) More than 160,000 U.S. children underwent cosmetic surgery in 2008, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

In 2008, cosmetic interventions such as breast augmentation, liposuction, Botox injections, hair removal, birthmark removal or "Asian eye surgery" were performed in 160,283 U.S. residents under the age of 19. Due to the economic recession, this actually represented a drop from the 2007 figure of 205,119, but was still higher than the 2006 figure of 145,094.

Experts say that cosmetic surgery has become more societally acceptable, fueled in part by celebrities and reality shows embracing it as a normal practice. In addition, modern parents are more willing than ever to consider the procedure for their kids.

"Boomer parents may themselves even be undergoing cosmetic surgery and may feel for our children that it's not such a stretch," said cosmetic surgeon Donn Chatham, president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

While many cosmetic surgeries in children are considered medical in nature, such as the repair of a cleft palate or cleft lip, others fall into more of a gray area -- such as the construction of an ear for an otherwise healthy child who was born without one. Other procedures, such as liposuction or breast surgery, are billed as "necessary" to increase children's self confidence or self esteem.

"One of the challenges is that there is not a lot of evidence that it improves psychosocial well-being," said Alice Dreger of Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. "The goal is admirable, right? Better lives. The question is: Does it work and is it necessary?"

Among the more controversial cosmetic procedures is blepharoplasty, also known as "Asian eye surgery," in which people of Asian descent undergo surgery to widen their eyes and add the eyelid crease normally found only in people of European descent.

Blepharoplasty was performed on 369 children in 2008.

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