Friday, July 1, 2016

Summer vacation sees an increase in microsurgery

A Taipei doctor advised young people to seek procedures that are non-permanent, reversible and micro in scale to avoid disappointment

An increasing number of young people are using their summer vacations to undergo cosmetic procedures, such as botox shots, laser treatment or cosmetic surgery on their chin or nose, Taipei-based cosmetic dermatologist Tseng Chung-jen (曾忠仁) said.

Tseng, a doctor at Taipei’s Beautyland Clinic, said the average age of people opting for cosmetic procedures has been falling steadily in recent years, with 10 to 20 percent of his patients being students and the ratio doubling to between 20 and 40 percent during summer vacations.

Tseng said that college students tend to prefer affordable microsurgeries, such as double-eyelid surgery, chin lifts, nose tucks and blemish or hair removal, while teenagers typically seek treatment for acne, acne-scar removal or excessive sweating from armpits.

In addition, a growing number of junior-high and senior-high school students are asking for cosmetic surgery to sculpt their nose or chin lines, Tseng said, adding that some parents who “feel responsible” for their children’s appearance have volunteered their kids for a “tune-up” operation.

Most microsurgeries requested by students use energy-based devices or injections, he said.

“Laser treatments are used for acne, and blemish and hair removal; intense pulsed light rejuvenates the skin; and botox, hyaluronan or Radiesse injections are used to sculpt facial muscle, nose or chin lines,” he said.

However, underage patients need a signed consent from their parent or guardian, because they might not be mature enough to make an informed decision, he said.

Adolescents also often undergo natural changes to their appearance, which makes permanent procedures risky, he added

“It is recommended for adolescents to choose ‘procedures with a shelf life’ that are non-permanent, reversible and micro in scale to avoid cases of buyer’s remorse that are difficult to address from a medical perspective,” Tseng said.

He cited as an example an 18-year-old patient who opted for abrasive laser treatment to removal acne scarring in another clinic, but suffered postinflammatory hyperpigmentation after the procedure, resulting in the student having to start the next school semester with a face that looked severely sunburned.

Tseng treated the patient using drugs and ointments for six months before the condition improved.

Tseng said that another pitfall for young people seeking cosmetic procedures is that they often want procedures that are affordable and have an immediate effect, without adequately communicating their goals with their doctors, leading to disappointment with the result of the procedures or disputes.

“Pre-procedure communication is key. No one likes paying for a procedure that does not deliver what was intended,” Tseng said.

Hsieh Chia-chun and Jonathan Chin

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