Teens and plastic surgery

BRYAN COUNTY, OK -- Tens of thousands of teens underwent some form of plastic surgery last year. Kristen Shanahan tells us why people so young have these operations, and why one young woman says she had no choice.

More than 76,000 teens underwent some type of cosmetic procedure last year. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons says nearly half of them got nose jobs and more than 8,000 girls between the ages of 13 and 19 got a breast augmentation.

Cosmetic Surgeon Dr. Harry Galoob says teens wanting cosmetic surgery is nothing new, but in recent years he has seen more and more young girls wanting larger breasts.

"I suspect some of it is competition and some of it is the desire to have an appearance that is similar to some of their peers," Dr. Galoob said.

Dr. Galoob says in many cases teens do not feel comfortable in their own skin and sometimes making these alterations can actually change their quality of life.

"A woman who is not developing at all who doesn't feel feminine whether she is 18 or 28 I think has the right today because we are doing things much more predictably much more safely should be able to do those sorts of things. If their motivation is correct," Dr. Galoob said.

However, there some young women like Natalie Lemons, who say they did not have a choice when it came to several, painful plastic surgeries.

On May 21st, 2003, Natalie was involved in a fatal car crash that killed her mother and 5-year-old niece. She was only 14-years-old, and dealing with the devastating tragedy was not the only hardship Natalie had to face at such a young age. She suffered major facial injuries when she was ejected from the vehicle.

"My face was completely, I mean, ripped apart," Natalie said.

Since the accident she has been through at least 10 reconstructive surgeries. She also had to come to terms with her new appearance.

"You know everything's about how pretty you are and I had to reevaluate my whole life," Natalie said.

"It has taken a long time to get to where she is, but I think it's been worth it, " Dr. Galoob said.

Natalie says despite the heartbreak and physical pain she went through the support people showed her really opened her eyes.

"I've learned that beauty is something so much more then what's physical. It has everything to do with who you are on the inside," Natalie said.

She says everyone has their own scars and although it is hard not to be self conscious about appearances, there is a lot more to life and advises any teen who is considering plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons to think twice about it.

"I can tell you right now I'm so comfortable with my body. I mean I could find a million things wrong with my scars and with the way I am, and really I'm content with myself," Natalie said.

"I'm always pleased when I see someone who has the where with all to succeed in spite of all the awful things that have happened to them. There is still that human spirit and it's nice to see it show itself," Dr. Galoob said.

Natalie says after the tragedy she went through she just feels lucky to be alive.

"I'm blessed to be alive. I mean there's got to be a reason I'm still here," Natalie said.


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