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How young is too young to have a rhinoplasty?

By drmorgan on
Dr. Jonathan Morgan is double board certified in Facial Plastic and Reconstructi
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Jul 12 in Uncategorized

Rhinoplasty (nose job) in the young adult. What age is too young?

As you all know, rhinoplasty is a very large part of my practice, and I deal with countless people who come in to discuss rhinoplasty (nose job) surgery. One of the most frequently asked questions is at what age should a rhinoplasty be performed? Recently there was an article written by a plastic surgeon in California who stated that rhinoplasties can be done in 13- and 14-year-old children. (This was posted on our Facebook page). When polled, most rhinoplasty surgeons will have different answers; however, the range is from 13 to 18 years of age.

My opinion also falls within this age range. The youngest patients that I have operated on are 15. But I have told some 16-year-olds that they need to wait. This may sound contradictory, but it is not! So, what goes into this decision? For me the age is only one factor and, quite honestly, not the most important. The physical and emotional maturity of the patient needs to be considered. For this reason, I will almost never operate on a young patient without seeing this patient on more than one occasion. When I do this, I get to see how the patient is maturing on both fronts. I also like to see the relationship between Mom, Dad, and the patient. The physical stature of Mom and Dad is also important to know, as the patient will be similar at maturity. I could bore you with the growth areas of the nasal septum and the natural course of growth of the face in general, but I won’t. Suffice it to say, that the physical maturity is important. If a patient is fully mature physically, then I will consider the operation.

The patient’s emotional maturity, as well as the relationship with Mom and Dad, is also a significant consideration. “Why does the PATIENT want the surgery?” This needs to be worked out, and discussed. Often I will discuss this with the patient in the absence of both parents. It is really important to understand what is going on in the young person’s head (if this is possible). We need to remember that we are going to be changing the way this person looks, and is looked at. Will this person be ready for this? Are their expectations reasonable? Mom and Dad’s opinions are important, but not as important as the patient’s own thoughts about these matters. I ask all of my patients these things, but when dealing with younger patients, I take special care to discuss this. A few caveats about this: When a chin augmentation is needed as well, this often will need to wait for a bit more time. Also, when there is severe nasal obstruction (a severe functional deficit), this may push up the time table. So, now to finally answer the question: The magic number for me is around 15 (and I say this with great trepidation). Remember that just because you are 15, it does not mean that you are ready for this surgery. I reserve the right to tell you that we are not quite ready, and we will wait for a while. Also, all of you 13- and 14-year-olds out there who think you are ready, do not be surprised when I tell you that you are ready, and we can go ahead with the surgery. Hope this helps. Feel free to let me know.

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