BERLIN – Given the ramifications that this implies throughout life, the choice of whether or not to undergo cosmetic surgery is by definition a serious decision. Still, a good number of pinch-and-fold procedures in Germany – things like breast augmentation, nose jobs, or abdominal liposuction – are performed on children and adolescents.
There is currently no minimum age for such operations, which are either sought after by patients themselves or by their parents, who have a specific physical ideal that they want their offspring to match. The result is that patients under the age of 20 account for around 10% of all cosmetic procedures, according to the German Association of Plastic Surgeons.
That may soon change. The conservative parties of the German Union, the CDU and the CSU, are currently working on a bill that would ban cosmetic surgery for minors (people under the age of 18) unless there are medical reasons for that. “For good reason, the state protects young people from themselves when it comes to drinking and smoking, and we think it is high time it did the same with regard to children. unnecessary and often risky cosmetic operations, “said Jens Spahn, CDU health expert.
So far, however, the bill lacks the support of the junior coalition party, the Free Democratic Party (FDP). “We currently only know of a few individual politicians in the Union seeking to ban cosmetic surgery for minors. We have not yet received any specific reasons or reliable facts about it,” said Heinz Laufermann, speaking on behalf of the FDP faction. Berliner Morgenpost. Laufermann went on to say that the lines between medical necessity and a purely cosmetic operation are often “extremely blurred”.
Spahn disagrees. “The difference between purely cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery, for example after cancer surgery, is extremely clear,” he said, calling Laufermann’s concern non-problem. “In the first case Medicare doesn’t pay, and in the second it does.”
Finding a concrete way to legally anchor the project is another sticking point. During the last legislature, an attempt to tie the bill to youth protection legislation failed. Its CDU / CSU supporters might now try to get it passed at the state level rather than the federal level.
Laws differ in other countries. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 219,000 cosmetic and plastic surgeries were performed on people aged 13 to 19 in 2010.
Read the full story in German by Florian Kain
Photo – galf548
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