Doctors perform surgery (generic) R 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Swoan Parker)
The Knesset Committee for the Rights of the Child demanded on Tuesday that the
Health Ministry supervise esthetic surgery of minors.
conceded that surgical procedures in these commercial institutes are not fully
and properly supervised.
Committee chairman MK Orly Levy-Abecassis
(Yisrael Beytenu) said that such surgery, including the enlarging or minimizing
of breasts, should be prohibited below the age of 17.
image is influenced by many factors, and they have the illusion that if
something is fixed, everything in their lives will be too,” the committee
The Knesset Information and Research Center found that
even though cosmetic treatments – from hair removal and blurring of scars to
plastic surgery – have become very popular among minors, they are not supervised
properly. Treatments fail, and some children have developed medical problems as
a result of esthetic treatments, the center said.
Children are too young
and have insufficient judgement to undergo such treatments, they added. Knesset
researcher Maria Rabinovich said at the committee that while it had discussed
the issue five years ago and even made specific recommendations, the ministry
did not accept them or implement them.
Israel Medical Association
secretary-general Lea Wapner welcomed the discussion and said the issue had
received much less attention than it deserved. The IMA plans to hold a medical
meeting on all specialties connected to esthetic treatment of minors, she
Prof. Arnon Afek, head of the ministry’s medical administration,
said the issue is not only medical but that it has many aspects connected to
ethics and children’s self-image. The child who feels the operation will improve
his life must be given the option of undergoing surgery, but he must not develop
false expectations, Afek said.
The senior ministry official said that it
sends inspectors to esthetic surgery clinics and that recently, it sent out
guidelines defining who may perform such work. Those that do not perform
surgery, however, are not supervised at all.
Dr. Amos Leviav of the
Plastic and Esthetic Surgery Society, said he agrees that girls under 17 should
not be able to undergo esthetic surgery on their breasts except in extreme
“The ministry will not go to private institutes, but it should
decide if it requires reporting [of complications], and today there is no such
Leviav added, however, that operations such as otoplasty, or ear
pinning, for “elephant ears” in children are performed from the age of six
because they are considered “lifesaving” as the child suffers much embarrassment
and abuse as a result of the way he looks.