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German coalition urges ban on cosmetic surgery for kids

Article-German coalition urges ban on cosmetic surgery for kids

Berlin — Members of Germany’s Federation of Pediatricians (BVKJ) are echoing demands by a coalition of the ruling Social Democratic and Christian Democratic parties that would ban cosmetic surgery for children and teenagers in Germany, reports German Internet news source DW-World.de.

Meanwhile, ABC News in New York reports that officials of the Australian state of Queensland have announced that cosmetic surgery will be banned for most teenagers there.

In Germany, the political coalition is urging nationwide legislation that would ban certain cosmetic procedures for youngsters, such as breast enlargement. Statistics in the draft bill state that about 10 percent of the estimated one million cosmetic procedures carried out annually in Germany are on people younger than 20.

The BVKJ also has expressed concern about piercings and tattoos for those under 18, and are calling for a ban on these practices despite their exclusion from the cosmetic surgery bill.

The president of Germany’s association of plastic surgeons, however, noted that most of the cosmetic procedures done on people under 18 years of age are for reasons of physical deformity or psychological suffering arising from the person’s appearance, and that there was concern that such cases would also fall under the proposed ban.

The new ruling in Queensland prohibits cosmetic procedures and the use of tanning beds for young people less than 18 years of age. The rule would not apply to teens having surgery to correct deformities or disfiguring injuries, and it allows for procedures that would improve medical, psychological or social well-being.

The ban has earned the approval of the Australian Society for Plastic Surgeons, as well as praise from some American plastic surgeons. ABC News quotes Peter Costantino, M.D., a craniofacial specialist and reconstructive surgeon at New York’s St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, as calling the Queensland ban a “great idea,” adding, “If [teenagers] aren’t old enough to sign their own surgical consent for a medically necessary procedure, then they shouldn’t be able to induce their parents to do it for cosmetic surgery, which is a personal, subjective, value-based decision, not a decision of medical necessity.”

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