Bombarded by media images of perfect bodies, teens as young as 13 are increasingly turning to plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures to help alter their appearance.
In fact, young people have become so open about their choice to undergo such elective procedures that some have posted video of themselves going under the knife on their social media accounts.
“There was actually a girl on our campus, she went on Snapchat and she filmed herself getting a live liposuction,” one young man told NBC’s Gadi Schwartz during a group interview with teen college students on the topic.
Nearly 230,000 cosmetic procedures were performed on patients aged 13 to 19 in 2017. Lip augmentations, breast lifts and liposuctions are among the more popular procedures.
“I think we live in the generation where we equate our self-worth and value with literally numerical value that's on a page,” one young woman told NBC. “So yeah, we see who's getting likes, who's getting followers, and we assume that that's the right path."
Ryan Geter was 15 when he got his ears surgically pinned back in a procedure he said changed his life, giving him new confidence after years of being bullied for having big ears.
“In the past, I didn't have the courage to stand up for myself," he said. "But after the surgery, I won't let anyone mess with me."
But for every surgical success, medical experts warn there are numerous nightmare scenarios.
Dr. Andrew Ordon, a plastic surgeon, said these serious procedures can cause infections and other complications, risks that teens may fail to consider.
“They may get dependent on doing these things and it may create a body dysmorphia, a poor image of themselves,” he said.
Ella Snyder, 19, was so excited about the idea of getting her lips done that she filmed it for her YouTube channel, where she told her viewers afterward: “I love them so much! Very good experience overall. Highly recommend.”
In an interview with NBC's Savannah Sellers, Snyder said she wasn’t trying to encourage other teens to follow suit but admitted her video did send a mixed message.
“I definitely do think that I kind of fell victim to these beauty standards perpetuated by pop culture and social media,” she said. “It's hard to think about the fact that I had to do this to feel this way about myself.”