Darryl Hodgkinson, a cosmetic surgeon for 26 years, says he is treating more teenagers now than he did a decade ago — between 3 and 5 per cent of his patients are teenagers.
There are "psychological consequences of having a real physical deformity like a really big, fat bottom". Surgery such as liposuction to remove fat that won't budge with exercise and diet can help adolescents with a negative self-image suffering extreme social distress, he says. His price starts at $5000 and his youngest liposuction patient was 15.
Dr Bruce Fox, a Melbourne cosmetic surgeon of 25 years, operates on about six adolescents a year. Last year he had a patient who was 17. This year he has performed liposuction on an 18-year-old. He says it is not a weight loss technique, but a procedure to correct a body shape that might be "size eight up top and 10 or 12 downstairs".