There is a story out of Texas about a 12 year old girl who is reportedly the youngest person ever to get liposuction. It was performed for weight loss purposes, since she was morbidly obese and was not able to lose weight with more traditional methods like diet and exercise. Her surgeon, Dr. Robert Ersek, who calls himself "the biggest fat sucker in Texas," lived up to his moniker when he liposuctioned 35 pounds of fat from Brooke's arms, back and upper midsection in March and removed another 10 pounds — most of it skin — in May by doing a tummy tuck.
Ersek acknowledged it was "a mega amount" of fat and "off the scale," but he is not alone in doing large-volume liposuction or in doing the procedure for weight loss. He cites other plastic surgeons who agree with him in a 2004 book he co-authored, "Mega Lipo."
I have two main problems with this.
First, liposuction or tummy tucks on a pre-teen are just plain wrong. Children who are 12 years old do not have the mental maturity to be able to make the decision to have elective plastic surgery performed on them. This is a decision that she will have to live with for the rest of her life. Also, if I were to perform cosmetic plastic surgery on a child my wife (a pediatrician) would kill me.
Second, liposuction is not a procedure for weight loss. It is a procedure that is best used for body contouring in order to get rid of areas of fat which are not amenable to diet and exercise. 35 pounds of fat is roughly 15 liters. Any surgeon knows that removal of 15 liters from a person's body will create massive fluid and electrolyte shifts which could make a person very sick. I stop my liposuction amount at approximately 5 liters (or 10 lbs), which is, I believe, the recommendation from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
I once had an Asian mom call me up to inquire about cosmetic blepharoplasty on her son. I asked her how old he was. She told me he was 7. Yes, SEVEN! I asked her, "Do you think he has the maturity to make a decision to have plastic surgery?"
She answered, "He tells me he wants the surgery all the time."
I couldn't believe that this mom would even consider plastic surgery for her child. He was not deformed, either, but wanted a "double fold" to look more caucasian. I didn't know who to feel more sorry for: the kid who at age 7 had self-image problems, or his mom who must go through life as a complete tool.
Story credit: statesman.com