Page last updated at 15:25 GMT, Thursday, 23 July 2009 16:25 UK

'I wanted a boob job to fit in'

By Kate Morey
Producer, Boob Job: My Big Decision

Kianna standing in front of a mirror
Unhappy with her body, Kianna feels that she does not fit in with her friends

A recent survey found that nine out of 10 teenage girls in the UK are unhappy with their bodies.

Twenty-six percent of respondents were considering plastic surgery and over the past three years the number of teenagers having cosmetic surgery has risen 500%.

Kianna, 13, has wanted breast enhancement ever since she can remember and she is determined to go to the US when she is 16 to have the operation.

"The things I don't like about my body are my breasts…I spend almost 100% of my life thinking about it."

"It does make me unhappy. My friends are more developed than I am at the moment and I don't like it 'cos they can wear whatever they want and I can't. I stand out and look really weird."

Kianna and her family live on a housing estate where she has never really felt at home.

"Two things make me stand out of the crowd - my colour and my boobs…I am the only mixed-race girl around and I just don't fit in."

Single mother Sharon knows just how strong-willed her only child can be.

"Kianna just doesn't give up - she's got no fear about what's going to happen to her body."

And Sharon's sister, Angela, is equally worried that her niece is wanting breast implants just to fit in.

"I wouldn't like to be a teenager growing up, there's too much pressure on them now…what the magazine and telly are portraying...her head's way ahead of her body and she needs to give herself time to go into puberty."

Intimacy issues

Kianna goes on a journey of discovery about breast enhancement surgery as part of a BBC programme.

She is joined on the road trip by 17-year-old Katrina (Kat) from Tunbridge Wells, who also suffers from low self-esteem and hopes plastic surgery will make her feel more confident about her body.

Kianna (L) and Katrina (R)
Kianna and Katrina (Kat) both face life changing decisions

"I would like to look like a mix between Jordan and Katy Perry.

"I do want them to look a bit fake like I've had them done…because then I'll be more confident in showing other people 'cos they won't be mine."

Her mother Jules is devastated that her only daughter wants to change herself so dramatically through surgery.

"For me to endorse her having a boob job is a difficult thing because, as a mother, you just want to see your daughter happy. But the surgery she wants is to look artificial and I struggle to understand why."

Kat has had boyfriends since she was 13, but struggles with intimacy.

"I don't like people touching my boobs, I won't let them do it…I don't think I've ever taken off my top in sex 'cos I just don't feel comfortable."

Jules knows that time is running out to dissuade Kat from surgery she may live to regret.

"I love my daughter so much and I care about her decisions in life and I don't want her to make wrong decisions."

Surgery regrets

Both families meet people and witness experiences that are designed to get the teenagers talking openly and honestly and help inform their decision.

Jules (L) and Katrina (R)
Kat's mother Jules was concerned about her daughter having surgery

Meeting a group of young girls, some of who had had surgery, Jules was distressed to hear some of the horror stories associated with getting bigger breasts.

"I got them done when I was 18 but I actually regret having them…when they took the tubes out of me I was in excruciating pain and felt like someone was ripping off my skin," says one girl.

Jules was shocked by the stories she heard.

"I think she'll go through with it 'cos I think she's got her mind set and that girl that she spoke to was very much the size that Katrina is now, and she might go through the same sort of pain."

The girls also met The Sun "Page Three" model, Ruth. Page Three has a "no boob job" policy and Ruth - who is very anti-surgery - wanted to help change Kianna's mind.

"Scarring can really show especially if you're mixed race…so when you're looking at yourself in the mirror with your nice big new boobs you're gonna have these two great big marks underneath them as well."

Changing minds

After meeting with a surgeon and observing the reality of a breast-augmentation procedure, the teenagers were divided in their decision.

Seventeen-year-old Kat was still eager to pursue surgery but was happy to wait.

"It's hard to say - I don't want a boob job. I'm not going to lie, but I think in a couple of years time when I'm 20 or 25 but for now I'm just going to concentrate on college."

But 13-year-old Kianna came to realise that if she wants to pursue her dream career as a dancer, larger breasts might get in the way.

"My opinion changed a lot and I know now that I'm not going to get a boob job…I like my body at the moment, I don't feel like a little girl, or a woman…I feel like a teenager."

Boob job: My Big Decision is on BBC Three at 2100 on Thursday 23rd July.

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