Should women as young as Kylie Jenner be able to have cosmetic surgery?

Image: Kylie Jenner in 2012 (left) and in 2015 (via Getty).

In a pre-Internet world, the pillowy lips of a famous teenager wouldn’t have made many headlines, if any at all.

Alas, that’s not the world we live in and Kylie Jenner is proof of that. For almost a year, the 17-year-old’s pout was the subject of ‘did she or didn’t she?’ cosmetic surgery speculation, which all came to an end earlier this month when Jenner admitted she’d had temporary lip fillers.

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In an interview this week, Kim Kardashian admitted she encouraged her teenage sister’s decision to have the fillers. “If I had a daughter that was her age, what would I do? And I saw for so many years how she was so insecure. At 10 years old, she would say to me: ‘How come my lips aren’t big like yours?’,” she told Access Hollywood.

“I gave her the advice and I still stand by that advice… it changed her confidence so much.” (Post continues after gallery.)

Although Jenner’s lips have been the centre of attention, keen eyes have also been drifting to other parts of her body that appear to have undergone dramatic changes.

When you compare recent photos of the youngest Kardashian sibling to shots taken even a couple of years ago, it’s clear she looks different. Although changes to appearance are normal for a developing teenager — especially when makeup comes into play — many suspect Jenner’s changing look is the result of cosmetic enhancements, although she’s vehemently denied ever going ‘under the knife’.

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According to Dr Benjamin Norris from, this speculation isn’t totally unfounded.

“I think she’s been surgically altered, for sure. She looks a completely different age in the ‘post-op’ [photos]. I don’t know whether it’s sophistication and makeup and what she does for a living, but she looks vastly different,” Dr Norris, a plastic surgeon, says.

Looking at ‘before and after’ photos, Dr Norris says  Jenner could have undergone a number of facial procedures, including jaw reshaping, a mandible implant, facial fillers — “she very clearly lacks nasolabial fold lines now, they’re completely filled in” — and tweaks to her eyes.

Kylie Jenner in 2011 (Getty)

"The eyes look remarkably different. There's an element of makeup there, but to me the eyebrows look significantly higher, and if you look at the distance between the eyebrow and the lash line and upper eyelid, it's remarkably different. I suspect she's had either very well done Botox, or a brow lift — which would be incredibly unusual at 17 — and possibly an upper eyelid reduction, which again at 17 is odd."


That's the thing that's most staggering about this situation: Kylie Jenner is still only a teenager. Adolescence is rarely a walk in the park, especially where body image and appearance are concerned, but it's hard to imagine a 17-year-old feeling so pressured to look a certain way they might consider undergoing multiple surgical procedures.

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Then again, this isn't your average 17-year-old. Jenner has been on television since she was about nine years old, and has an audience of millions watching her every move both on TV and social media. In March, OK Magazine reported she had been wanting plastic surgery for years due to constant public commentary about her appearance, and comparisons to her sisters — who have also been subject to surgery speculation. Kim's comments support this.

Jenner at the Billboard Music Awards this week (Getty)

Like any teenager, Kylie Jenner is conscious about the way she looks, and there are parts of her body she's not pleased with. Earlier this month when she spoke about her decision to have temporary lip filler, Jenner said her lips were "just an insecurity" she had.

She also explained that she had been reluctant to tell the truth because the public had a tendency to "pick apart" her family: “I want to admit to the lips but people are so quick to judge me on everything."

RELATED: Why Kourtney Kardashian’s latest Instagram post is potentially dangerous.

This week, Jenner felt compelled to pre-empt the nasty body-shaming comments that inevitably appear whenever a famous woman shares a photo of her body, by captioning the Instagram photo below, “Behind the scenes. (Yes I gained weight there I said it so u don’t have to) :)”.

Image (@kyliejenner)

Unfortunately for Jenner, being an international celebrity under constantly scrutiny only serves to amplify these insecure, but very normal feelings — and perhaps drives her to take measures a regular teenager wouldn't consider or have access to. In her Access Hollywood interview, Kim Kardshian was asked whether she thought Jenner would have more cosmetic procedures. She didn't give a firm answer either way, but she said there are lines and boundaries to be observed.

"She did something that made her feel better about herself and that's kind of where you have to draw the line, and she knows that. She doesn't have a desire to do anything else," Kardashian said.


If Jenner has indeed undergone more surgery, she wouldn't be the first. It's hard not to feel for any young woman or man growing up in the Hollywood spotlight.

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In Australia, patients under the age of 18 are required to have a parent or guardian present and involved in any consultations and decisions regarding plastic surgery.

Even when patients have turned 18, plastic surgeons are recommended to ask them to wait three months before committing to any surgeries. Ultimately, however, the final decision lies with the patient — it's their legal right, and it's also their body. (Post continues after gallery.)

Dr Norris says he "wouldn't touch" a teenager considering cosmetic surgery until they were of legal age, particularly if the motivation were purely aesthetic.

"I'd certainly be happy to discuss their facial issues and potential surgery with them at 17, but I think we would wait until they turned 18. There's a big difference between an 18-year-old and and a 17-year-old in terms of their outlook on life ... I would not agree with any of those procedures [Jenner has had] being done on a 17-year-old," he says.

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"You also have to keep in mind that the surgery [Jenner]'s had is not because she has a true congenital anomaly or developmental anomaly; it's a purely aesthetic change. For perspective, I'll be shortly operating on a 17-year-old who has one breast on one side and no breast on the other. That's different."

Kylie Jenner with father Bruce and sister Kendall

Although Dr Norris has had consultations with teenagers younger than 18, for the most part they're not interested in completely overhauling the way they look.

"They'll come in to see me about corrective surgery for something that's clearly abnormal, but they're not coming in to completely alter themselves at 17 years of age," he says.

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"They've got other things on their mind — getting through school, interacting with boys, issues with their parents, pushing going out boundaries, not 'I want my nose altered and to have a brow lift'. Kylie Jenner lives in a very different world from the average 17-year-old in this country, I think."

What do you think about teenagers having plastic surgery?