Background Public awareness and concern about cosmetic surgery on children is increasing. Nationally and internationally questions have been raised by the media and government bodies about the appropriateness of children undergoing cosmetic surgery. Considering the rates of cosmetic surgery in comparable Western societies, it seems likely that the number of physicians in Australia who will deal with a request for cosmetic surgery for a child will continue to increase. This is a sensitive issue and it is essential that physicians understand the professional and legal obligations that arise when cosmetic surgery is proposed for a child.
Objective This article reviews the current professional and legal obligations that physicians have to competent and incompetent children for whom cosmetic surgery has been requested.
Discussion A case study is used to highlight the factors that Australian primary care physicians must consider before referring and conducting cosmetic surgery on children.