South Wales Evening Post - - FAMILY HEALTH -

QMY 17-year-old daugh­ter is ob­sessed with hav­ing her breasts en­larged, and won’t ac­cept she’s too young. What can we do to help make her hap­pier with her nat­u­ral shape and stop her want­ing surgery?

ANAVEEN CAVALE, a con­sul­tant plas­tic and re­con­struc­tive sur­geon at King’s Col­lege Hospi­tal, Lon­don, and founder of Real Plas­tic Surgery says: “When I see women re­quest­ing a breast en­large­ment, I of­ten hear they’ve been think­ing about this from a very young age – as young as 13 some­times.

“With­out a doubt your daugh­ter is too young, and I don’t know of any UK sur­geon who would op­er­ate for cos­metic rea­sons at this age. I’d dis­cour­age surgery un­til about the age of 22, when they’ve started to set­tle into adult­hood, and the breasts have stopped grow­ing.

“Rather than try­ing to dis­cour­age your daugh­ter, have an open dis­cus­sion. Keep her on-side. She will be bet­ter off with your sup­port – re­mem­ber, all op­er­a­tions have the po­ten­tial for com­pli­ca­tions, and not ev­ery­one of­fer­ing ad­vice may have her best in­ter­ests at heart.

“Try to find out why she wants en­large­ment. She should only be hav­ing surgery to make her­self feel bet­ter, not to com­pete with, or im­press some­one else. Think about go­ing to­gether to dis­cuss op­tions with a sen­si­ble and prop­erly qual­i­fied plas­tic sur­geon. Then, think to­gether whether surgery is the best op­tion – she may feel very dif­fer­ently about it in a few years’ time, but if not, go back to your sur­geon.

“When I see young adults, for ex­am­ple 18-22-year-olds re­quest­ing breast en­large­ment, I am hap­pi­est when they turn up with a par­ent (typ­i­cally mum). They have of­ten dis­cussed things, and this is a healthy sign. They can also dis­cuss things again after hav­ing seen me. I al­most al­ways ask them to both re­turn to see me for a se­cond time.

“I’ve also found those who wait and then pro­ceed with surgery are usu­ally hap­pier with the re­sults, per­haps be­cause they bet­ter un­der­stand and ap­pre­ci­ate the re­al­i­ties of what can be achieved. Re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions are very im­por­tant be­fore go­ing un­der the knife. Your daugh­ter will al­most cer­tainly be bet­ter off wait­ing un­til she is a lit­tle older.”

Sur­geon Naveen Cavale

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