Teen plastic surgery driven by app filters not always possible

Decorative photo of teenagers taking selfies

DALLAS – Nov. 28, 2018 – Tens of thousands of teens undergo plastic surgery procedures each year, and more are arriving with preconceived notions of potential improvements based on phone- and tablet-driven apps and filters.

But a manipulated image on a screen doesn’t always equate to medical possibility or reality.

“These apps allow you to manipulate things to extremes or unrealistically. While it may be ‘fun,’ it may not be realistic The problem with the apps is they may not be what is best for the patient,” says Dr. Jeffrey Kenkel, Chairman of Plastic Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “Having a medical consultation provides much more realistic information and truly explains to the patient that these are surgical procedures and must be taken seriously.”

Medical professionals consider psychological, ethical, and safety issues concerning plastic surgeries for teenagers, Dr. Kenkel says, and may need to wait for kids to finish growing, particularly for noses and breast surgeries, which may not be complete until late teens.

Physicians can use 2D and 3D software programs in their surgical practices to project realistic and attainable results. “I consider our software programs as educational tools for physicians and the apps as toys for patients and consumers,” Dr. Kenkel says.

Dr. Kenkel holds the Betty and Warren Woodward Chair in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and the Rod J. Rohrich, M.D. Distinguished Professorship in Wound Healing and Plastic Surgery.

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has received six Nobel Prizes, and includes 22 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 15 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators. The faculty of more than 2,700 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care in about 80 specialties to more than 105,000 hospitalized patients, nearly 370,000 emergency room cases, and oversee approximately 2.4 million outpatient visits a year.