Rhinoplasties, which are surgical procedures designed to improve the function and/or appearance of the nose, are growing in popularity among younger patients. If you’re a teenager and your nose is making you miserable, you might be able to do something about it. However, it’s important to keep in mind that nose jobs, like all forms of surgery, involve a certain level of risk. What’s more, in addition to the physical implications, the procedure can have emotional consequences as well.
Therefore, if you’re considering rhinoplasty, it’s best to proceed with caution and first discuss the idea with your parents. If you are under the age of 18, parental consent is required for a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon. Together with your parents, you should meet with one or more trusted surgeons who can help you better understand your true reasons for wanting to undergo this serious operation, which has potential complications and side effects that the surgeons can explain in detail. As a teen, you might be a good candidate for rhinoplasty if you are well-adjusted and have a solid support system at home.
Common teen motivations for seeking rhinoplasty
When you consult with a surgeon, one of the first things he or she will likely do is help you examine your motivations – do you want the surgery for yourself, or are you being swayed by someone else? For example, you might be seeking rhinoplasty as way to achieve a functional goal. Perhaps a sports- or accident-related injury or a congenital condition is affecting your nasal airways, resulting in problems like a deviated septum, nasal congestion, mouth breathing, snoring, and dry mouth. If so, surgical treatment might improve the function of your internal nasal passages and help you breathe easier.
On the other hand, aesthetic factors might be influencing your desire for a nose job. After all, your nose is a prominent feature of your face, and facial appearance can play a role in who you are and how others see you. For example, as a teen, you might be susceptible to peer pressure for social acceptance, and perhaps subject to ridicule, bullying, and the unrealistic celebrity ideals portrayed in the media. In response, you might want to improve your appearance by straightening the bridge, smoothing a hump, reshaping a bulbous tip, resizing the nostrils, or reducing the overall size of your nose.
If you are considering rhinoplasty for cosmetic reasons, your surgeon will carefully gauge your expectations to ensure that they are realistic. Teenagers in general tend to be very visual, and if you are overly concerned or obsessed with a minor flaw or asymmetry, you are not an ideal candidate for any type of cosmetic or elective procedure. In addition to enhancing the appearance of your nose, rhinoplasty can have a dramatic emotional impact. That said, surgery should never be viewed as a “cure all” solution. If depression, body dysmorphia, or deep social or emotional problems are driving your decision to undergo surgery, you should first seek professional psychological help.
What to expect
In general, a rhinoplasty procedure can be safely and effectively performed on a girl who is 15-16 years old, and on a boy who is 16-18 years old (these guidelines are based on typical growth and development patterns). While teenage patients often seek more dramatic changes than adults, teens also have superior skin elasticity and heal more quickly than their older counterparts, which can allow for better results and a faster recovery.
In order to avoid missing classes, some teenage patients choose to schedule their rhinoplasty procedures during school vacations or summer breaks, such as the months between high school graduation and the freshman year of college. It is important to be mentally prepared for the healing process, which takes time and requires support from family and friends. Also, remember that the end result might not be visible for six to 12 months.
Immediately after your procedure, you should expect some swelling and bruising around your eyes. You might be instructed to wear a splint and gauze drip pad for several days, and you will probably experience some discomfort during the first 24-72 hours. In general, you can expect to return to school wearing a nasal splint within one week after surgery, resume gentle exercise in about two weeks, and engage in contact sports in approximately six months.
Consult with a Board Certified Surgeon
If you would like more information about rhinoplasty, you are advised to meet with an experienced cosmetic surgeon who is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. A trusted and qualified surgeon can answer any questions you might have about the procedure, including its safety, cost, and associated recovery time, and determine if you are a good candidate.
Katie Perry is an online content editor in the Tampa Bay area. She posts articles about plastic surgery topics and procedures, including rhinoplasty
, facelifts, and others.