BUENOS AIRES — Argentina's parliament is set to debate a bill to ban plastic surgery for anyone under the age of 18, in response to reports of its increasing popularity among teens in one of the continent's more image-conscious countries.

The bill, initially presented in March, is ready for debate in the lower house of Parliament after approval by the Family, Childhood and Adolescence, and Health committees.

Pro-government legislator Mara Brawer, who authored the proposal, has said teens and their parents were increasingly opting for surgery "in response to cultural patterns being imposed by the market."

She recently told legislators "we want to protect teenagers from these pressures, which make them reject their own bodies," adding that parents were now especially concerned by teenaged girls' rejection of their bodies.

According to doctors, the greatest number of inquiries were about breast enlargement, cellulite-removing liposuction and nose jobs.

Critics have cautioned about the threat to parental authority, noting that very few teens have actually had breast implants, and in many cases doctors refuse to carry out such procedures on teenage girls.

Brawer has responded that "there is a limit to parental authority, because even with parental permission a minor cannot work 45 hours a week or watch X-rated films."

In cases of bonafide need, she said, citing for example, young people with so-called "Dumbo" ears, surgery would be allowed after "a psychologist's report that shows how the child is affected and a medical report confirming the completion of his or her growth phase."