Five teens talk about the trials and triumphs of plastic surgery
In high school a teenager’s looks can become a life- absorbing obsession, a source of painful and disabling self-consciousness. So what’s the problem with using a knife, to put right what nature seems to hare done at wrong? “Nothing,” says Camille Paglia, author of the controveresial Sexual Personae, n study of cultural decadence” ‘as long as there is a serious defect which plastic surgery can correct and help a young person feel more confident But unfortunately the model that has evolved is the Barbie doll” And that is the problem, agrees Marie Wilson president of the Ms. Foundation for Vtkmwn, an organization that supports projects devoted to ‘cornett and children,”Most of this is ahautlalready] haring (thee that is, just fine and hoping to nuatce it perfect,” site says. Susan Fatah, author of the beat-selling Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, which chronicles the media assault on Women during the past &oak, is even mom critical of our e Band :stitch-happy society Aare 87 out of every 100 plastic surgery patients are women. Miming plastic surgeons far “wanting to play the role of Frankenstein, wanting the power to shape the female form as though it’s putty, “she observes: °Young women are much less free to come-up with individual ideals of beautiful than men, and the pressure to conform that young girls trace plastic mown is one more way to confine them.” But apparently teenagers don’t alt see it that way. The girls -and boy- on the following pages were determined to change their Lives through cosmetic surgery, and they did. They share their stories below.
A new nose and a chin to match
Growing up in East Brunswick. N.J., she was an accident-prone girl who broke her nose badly in ninth-grade gym class when she caught .a basketball with her face. So Andrea Rudow visited Dr. Alvin Glasgold, the Highland Park. N.J. plastic surgeon who had straightened her older brother Gary’http://www.glasgoldgroup.com//s nose when he was 16. Since she was only 13 and still growing, Glasgold advised her to come back in six months. She did – “with a huge red bump on my face. The nasal bone, instead of growing down, was now growing out,” she says. Classmates at East Brunswick High School noticed, too, and began calling her Rudolph
During Andrea’s consultation, Dr. Glasgold suggested not only a nose job but an implant to improve her receding chin. He said that the line of your nose has to lit with your chin, says Rudow, “and I trusted him.” According to Glasgold, 25 percent of all rhinoplasty patients also have receding chins. “Sometimes the chin is the real problem and the nose is just a minor one,” he says. “Correcting a chin is much simpler than doing a rhinoplasty, and the results, using FDA-approved silicone rubber, are extremely consistent: Making an incision either under the chin or in the gums between the chin and the lip, the surgeon slips the implant into place, then anchors it with a surgical stitch to the tissue surrounding the bone. in 1988, when Andrea, now 19, had it done, the operation cost her father. Richard, a real estate appraiser, and her mother, Ricki, a medical secretary, $3,500. (Insurance paid most of the cost because her nasal bone was growing improperly)
When her bandages came off, “I was laughing and crying at the same time,” Rudow says. Trying because I was so happy and laughing because it didn’t look like me.”
Rudow was so elated with the results that she was inspired to lose weight, too. Back at school, she says, “they looked at me like, ‘Oh, did you get a haircut?’ But Rudow felt the difference profoundly. Happier, and feeling prettier, she became less reclusive, making friends and dating regularly. Now a liberal arts student at Middlesex County’ Community College in Edison, N..1.. she sees only one drawback to her surgery. “Men whistle at me on the street” she says. “At first it was funny, but now it’s like, enough.”