According to an editorial published in the March issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, liposuction and tummy tucks are inappropriate procedures for childhood weight loss.

“The teenage years can be extremely tough for kids who are teased about their weight; however, liposuction and tummy tucks are not the answer,” says Roxanne Guy, MD, president of ASPS. “My message to young kids—proper diet and exercise are still the best ways to slim down.”

According to the editorial the use of liposuction to improve the health status of an obese individual, regardless of age, is not currently supported by scientific evidence. In fact, a 2004 New England Journal of Medicine study shows that the use of liposuction does not provide the same health benefits as diet-induced weight loss in obese people.

“There is no doubt some teenagers may physically and psychologically benefit from having plastic surgery,” says David Sarwer, PhD, associate professor of psychology at the Center for Human Appearance at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and lead author of the editorial. “For example, ear surgery or nose reshaping may significantly improve a teenager’s self-esteem and body image. The desire to be thin, no matter how strong, does not justify the use of body-contouring procedures to treat childhood obesity when there is no data supporting their effectiveness.”

According to 2006 ASPS statistics, only 2% of all aesthetic plastic surgery procedures were performed on teens. The top three procedures were nose reshaping (48,000), male breast reduction (14,000), and ear pinning (10,000).

[www.medicalnewstoday.com, April 5, 2007]