Happy Graduation! Enjoy Your New Nose

Cheryl and her husband, Darryl Kushner, both had nose jobs in their 20s. About two decades later, their 15-year-old daughter, Robin, was unhappy with her similarly shaped family nose and knew rhinoplasty was in her future.

"We had been talking about it for a while," said Cheryl, 45, who thought her daughter was pretty, but plagued by that "Barbara Streisand hump."

Although she was initially scared about the procedure, after some serious thought, Robin decided to get a nose job in March, right before spring break.

Everything went smoothly, and before long she was text messaging friends photos of her face, complete with bandages and all. Robin's self-confidence has been "off the charts" since returning to school in Chico, Calif.

Now the couple's younger daughter, Rachel, 14, wants to follow in her sister's footsteps. But she'll have to wait until she's in 10th grade, her parents said.

Plastic surgery has become a family affair over the years. Experts say children are more likely to consider it if another family member has had it done. And some parents are even giving it to their kids as graduation presents. Forget the trip to Cancun or even a brand new set of wheels. Some high schoolers are opting for cosmetic surgery instead.

Charlie Baase, a spokesperson for the American Academy for Cosmetic Surgery, said although he doesn't have any definitive statistics, the organization's member surgeons have reported a slight increase in the number of teens wanting to change something about their appearance around graduation time -- both surgically and nonsurgically. Common procedures range from ear pinning and nose jobs to less invasive procedure such as microdermabrasion or Botox.

"That was definitely not happening before," Basse said.

Dr. Darrick Antell, a New York City surgeon, said that graduation, as well as other big life changes, may act as catalysts.

"That's the event that pushes you to do it," he said.

For example, he recently pinned back a patient's ears because she wanted to wear her hair up for prom and graduation.

Graduation gift or not, one thing is for sure: There is a slow, steady rise of teens getting cosmetic surgery, with an average annual increase of about 2.5 percent over the last four years, according to Dr. Richard A. D'Amico, president-elect of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Breast augmentations among young women ages 18 to 19 rose about 12 percent between 2005 and 2006.

"I've seen an increase in teens having plastic surgery, and certainly for graduation," said Dr. Stephen T. Greenberg, a New York plastic surgeon and the author of "A Little Nip, A Little Tuck."

The timing doesn't come as too much of a surprise. High school seniors are getting ready for a brand new start, and with that comes a desire for a clean slate. Summer provides ample recovery time too.

"That's logical because cosmetic surgery is performed at times of transition, and graduation is a time of transition," said D'Amico.

"It is true that we see teens that come during this time of year," said Dr. Walter Erhardt, past president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, who currently practices in Albany, Ga. "I've actually seen three teenagers in high school this week who were interested in cosmetic surgery -- all three in rhinoplasty."

But experts say that it's important to fully think things through before making that appointment.

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