Rhinoplasty for Teens

In recent years, the popularity of plastic surgery in teenagers has risen dramatically. A Rhinoplasty, or “nose job”, remains one of the most common procedures performed in teenagers. When discussing nasal surgery, terminology may be confusing, and this type of surgery may be performed for cosmetic reasons, medical reasons, or a combination of the two factors.

Rhinoplasty is the term given to a surgery on the nose that is performed to improve the appearance of the nose, whereas nasal reconstruction is the term given to a surgery on the nose that is performed to help correct a breathing problem. Sometimes people are concerned with both their nasal breathing and nasal appearance. In such cases, nasal surgery could be termed a reconstructive rhinoplasty. In this surgery, the experienced surgeon would combine techniques from both types of nasal procedures to achieve both goals.

Factors to Consider

Certain medical factors must be considered when contemplating surgery in a teenager. The nasal bones and cartilages continue to grow during adolescence, and surgery may disrupt this growth, resulting in facial disharmony. Therefore it is generally ideal to postpone surgery until the patient stops growing, and nasal surgery is generally avoided until approximately sixteen years of age.

Another factor to consider in teenagers is participation in sports, particularly sports with a risk of trauma to the nose. It does not make good sense to undergo the time, recovery, and expense of nasal surgery if the nose is then traumatized due to a sports-related injury. In this situation, the patient may then require revision nasal surgery. It is generally accepted that revision nasal surgery is more difficult and results are more unpredictable than primary nasal surgery, and this situation is best avoided.

Perhaps equally important to the aforementioned anatomical considerations of nasal surgery in a teenager are the psychological considerations. Before considering a change to themself, it is best that the patient first know themself. This is a deep and complex issue, and one that occurs at a different pace in everyone.

There can be numerous pressures on the self-image or body-image of a teenager. When thinking about surgery, it is important that the patient is the one who is motivated for surgery, rather than the parents or peers. Additionally, it is important that the patient has realistic expectations regarding surgery. Although in certain patients, rhinoplasty can be a transformative experience, this is not universally true.

Assuming that a teenager has completed growth, is no longer participating in contact sports, and has the correct motivation and expectation regarding surgery, then they can more strongly consider nasal surgery. At this point, they must consider whether they are physically and emotionally prepared to undergo the process of surgery and its recovery.

Rhinoplasty Procedure Details

The surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, and recovery takes approximately seven to ten days. Mild pain is expected and is typically managed with Tylenol. Ultimately it is wise to remember that for any surgical procedure, the best results occur when the right surgery is performed for the right patient with the right motivation and expectation.