Rhinoplasty is one of the most popular procedures worldwide. Nasal surgery can address a range of issues, from simple cosmetic problems like a nasal hump to complex reconstructions and improvement of severe breathing problems. The nose is an extremely prominent facial feature, and its appearance greatly affects the facial aesthetics and balance as a whole. Because of this, many people feel self-conscious about any imperfections they perceive in their nose, and often feel strongly about making changes in those issues with nasal surgery (rhinoplasty). When it comes to young people, this desire is often especially strong, as some young people experience teasing from peers or have not yet become comfortable with themselves. But what should happen when a teen or young adult wants rhinoplasty? How young is too young for cosmetic surgery?
One of the most basic issues with nasal surgery in young people is the timeline of nose maturity. While other facial features, such as the ears, finish growing early in life (about age 4-5), the nose takes much longer to settle into its final shape. While some imperfections may bother a child for years, subtle changes can still take place during the teens, making rhinoplasty inadvisable for children. If rhinoplasty is performed prior to the nose reaching maturity, changes can continue to occur and distort the results of the surgery. Boys and girls tend to mature at different rates, with most girls finishing nasal maturation at around age 15-16, and boys at about 16-17.
Physical maturity is not the only factor in rhinoplasty for young people. Emotional maturity is extremely important to prepare for the major changes that occur with surgery. Rhinoplasty can greatly change facial appearance which can take the patient by surprise. Additionally, young people who are not ready for surgery may rush to make changes only to regret them later, particularly if the decision to undergo surgery was influenced by friends, loved ones, or bullies. For all prospective patients, realistic expectations and a healthy emotional state are keys to a successful procedure. Some children are far more mature than others, and better equipped to handle the realities of rhinoplasty.
Nasal Trauma and Breathing Issues
Naturally when it comes to nasal trauma and breathing issues in children, it is very important to factor in the child’s health and well-being when considering nasal surgery. The severity of the problem will often be a deciding factor in whether to address functional issues and nasal deformities in children. Naturally, it is better to wait and prevent the need for a second surgery later on, but it all depends on the specifics of the case in question.
Naturally, once someone is 18 or older, he or she can make all decisions regarding rhinoplasty without input, as long as the procedure can be paid for and candidacy requirements are met. Prior to this age, of course, parental support is required, and making the decision to move forward or wait can be a tense experience for everyone involved.
Case by Case
So how young is too young? The answer to this is different in almost every case, and it can be a tricky issue for guardians to deal with. However, most facial plastic surgeons prefer to wait until patients are at least 18 to perform rhinoplasty. While you should not necessarily discount your teen’s desire for nasal surgery, you should proceed with caution and only make decisions you and your family feel comfortable with. Good rhinoplasty results last a lifetime, but mistakes can be difficult to fix and it can be hard to gauge the emotional effects the procedure will have beforehand. Generally, unless the circumstances are extreme, most experts recommend waiting until young adulthood to undergo elective nasal surgery.
If you think that your son or daughter may be ready to undergo rhinoplasty, then it’s time to speak with a reputable plastic surgeon and get his or her expert opinion on the situation. Consultations with potential surgeons will help everyone involved get familiar with the procedure and discuss the specifics of the goals for surgery. Potential surgeons will also assess candidacy, and may refuse to move forward with the procedure if they do not feel the patient is emotionally and physically ready for the surgery. Consultations are extremely valuable for getting your questions answered and meeting rhinoplasty specialists who may be able to help you.
If you’re looking for an experienced facial plastic surgeon in Austin, Texas, come to Buckingham Center and meet with acclaimed surgeon Dr. Edward Buckingham. Dr. Buckingham is a board certified rhinoplasty expert, and he focuses on giving patients beautiful, natural-looking results. Call Buckingham Center at 512-401-2500 to schedule your consultation today.