When you hate your nose, waiting for rhinoplasty can feel like torture. This is true at any age, but our teenage patients are especially anxious and excited for surgery day. Many have endured teasing about their nasal appearance or spent years with a nose that doesn’t quite fit their expectations. In adulthood, rhinoplasty can be performed at almost any age, but during the early teen years, it may to be too early for this surgical correction.
How young is too young for rhinoplasty? Here’s what you need to know about age and cosmetic rhinoplasty from triple board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ali Sajjadian.
Teen Rhinoplasty Statistics
Rhinoplasty is the top cosmetic surgery performed on teens. In 2017, the most recent year with available statistics, more than 30,000 nose reshaping procedures were performed on U.S. patients between the ages of 13-19. This accounted for approximately 14% of all rhinoplasties performed that year.
Rhinoplasty is popular with both male and female patients. Females account for about three-quarters of all rhinoplasties, and male patients about one-quarter. We find that the male to female ratio is similar for both adult and teen patients.
At our Southern California plastic surgery practice, we regularly meet with teens that are considering rhinoplasty. We perform both cosmetic and functional rhinoplasty procedures.
Is My Nose Ready for Rhinoplasty?
Most of the time, nasal surgery is best performed after the nose reaches its full adult size. Development timelines vary, but this typically occurs in the mid to late teens. Girls reach facial maturity sooner than boys. Our youngest rhinoplasty patients are usually between the ages of 15-16 for female patients and 16-17 for male patients.
When you come in for a surgical consultation, Dr. Sajjadian will assess facial development to determine if your nose is physically ready for rhinoplasty. If you’re not quite there physically, be patient. You can receive nasal surgery in your teens, 20s, 30s, and beyond, but you can’t reverse rhinoplasty after it has occurred.
What Happens If Rhinoplasty Is Performed Before the Nose Is Full Developed?
Facial development is a complex process. Surgery while the face and nose are developing has the potential to disrupt and change the normal course of growth. Dr. Sajjadian recommends waiting to perform nasal surgery until the nose is full developed.
Dr. Sajjadian takes rhinoplasty very seriously and is meticulous about his results. By performing the procedure on a full-sized nose, he has complete control over the final outcomes. If surgery is performed before the nose is fully developed, growth may change its appearance, leaving the patient with a less than satisfactory result.
We want our patients to only need nasal surgery once. Waiting until your nose is fully developed will reduce the chances of complications and revision surgery later.
Of course, there are a few exceptions to this guideline. Patients with nasal trauma or injury may require rhinoplasty sooner. We also perform nasal surgery on children with some facial deformities, like cleft palate.
Emotional Readiness for Cosmetic Surgery- Just as Important as Physical Readiness
Age isn’t the only factor to consider when determining readiness for cosmetic surgery. Just as important, possible more so, is the emotional maturity and readiness of a patient. Dr. Sajjadian is experienced working with both teens and adults to assess their emotional state prior to surgery. He only performs surgery on patients that he feels are in an appropriate mental state to consent to surgery.
The teen years are a time of rapid emotional and cognitive development and change. Childlike thinking begins to transition into complex adult thought. However, this is a process and takes many years. Some adolescents aren’t ready to make lifelong decisions about nasal surgery.
One of the hallmarks of early adolescent thinking is a focus on self. Young teens often undergo a self-centered period. Many believe that they are under constant observation and judgement from others. For some teens, this leads to excessive worry about appearance, and possibly aesthetic nasal concerns that aren’t fully valid.
Other teens may want plastic surgery but have unrealistic expectations about its effects. They may believe that the surgery will be life changing, resolving social and popularity problems and changing their emotional state.
Teens with these thought patterns may need to wait for rhinoplasty. A patient that is emotionally and cognitively ready will understand that nose reshaping only shapes the nose. Problems and frustrations will still exist after surgery and life certainly won’t be perfect. Patients need to choose cosmetic surgery for themselves, and not to achieve the ideal of someone else. It is also important that patients understand the limits of the procedure and have a realistic idea of what their new nose will look like.
If a patient isn’t emotionally ready for surgery, psychological counseling may be able to help. We want our teen patients to be happy and confident, not choosing surgery as a band-aid to other problems.
Rhinoplasty and Teens- What a Parent Needs to Know
As a parent, you want the best for your children. Figuring out what’s best is often the biggest challenge. We invite parents and teens to come into our Newport Beach plastic surgery office for a consultation. To make an informed choice about rhinoplasty for your child, you need information.
Dr. Sajjadian collaborates with both teens and parents during a teenage rhinoplasty consultation. He realizes that both parent and child will have concerns and questions. We welcome parents to the consultation and pre and post-surgical checks. There may be times that Dr. Sajjadian will need to speak to your child without you, or to you without your child, so be prepared to accommodate this if requested.
These tips will help you create a more successful experience for your child as they prepare for surgery.
- Don’t Suggest Rhinoplasty- Let your teen make the surgery decision themselves. Our goal isn’t to create cookie cutter noses. It is to help people achieve a nose they love. Your teen may like their unique nasal appearance. Don’t suggest that something is wrong with someone else’s appearance unless they tell you it is.
- Support, but Let Them Decide- Parent support is essential for a teen rhinoplasty. Ultimately, the decision is theirs, not yours. Empower your child with information and options but let them make the final choice.
- It’s Okay to Wait- If you and your child are certain that rhinoplasty is the right choice, do it now. If everyone isn’t 100% sure, it is okay to wait. Nasal surgery can happen later.
- Give Your Child Space to Learn- Surgery permanently changes the body. This needs to be a decision that your child owns. Give them space and freedom to talk with Dr. Sajjadian and to communicate needs. This is an adult decision, so empower your child to make it properly.
We are here to support you and your child throughout the surgical process. Let us know how we can best meet your needs.
Scheduling Your Teenage Rhinoplasty- Our Tips for Getting the Timing Right
Timing rhinoplasty for a teen or young adult requires a little pre-planning. Schedules are busy and it can be hard to find several weeks without any commitments.
We recommend taking at least two weeks off from work or school after nasal surgery. Most patients feel substantially better before this, but this extended downtime is primarily for social comfort. Bruising and swelling are very common after nasal surgery and can last for a few weeks. A little extra downtime ensures that patients are comfortable with their appearance when getting back to regular lift.
Of course, missing two weeks or more of school isn’t usually advisable. We encourage our school aged patients to schedule their surgeries over the summer or during extended holiday breaks from classes. Our teen and young adult patients are often very concerned about appearance and do not like returning to their social lives while bruised or heavily swollen.
Timing is also a factor if you participate in sports like baseball, soccer, football, or wrestling. We’ll work with you to time your procedure around your athletic seasons.
Sports After Rhinoplasty
Many of our high school and college aged rhinoplasty patients are active in sports and athletics. Many are planning to continue pursuing these activities in college and beyond. If you’re an athlete, make sure you tell Dr. Sajjadian. Some athletic activities aren’t recommended after nasal surgery for several months or longer.
Patients look and feel great a few weeks after cosmetic nose reshaping, but the healing process isn’t complete. The bones and cartilage take time to heal. During the first few months, your nose is much more tender, and prone to injury if contact occurs.
Sports and athletic events are some of the biggest causes of nasal injuries. Dr. Sajjadian often repairs nasal damage from high school, college, and professional athletes. And don’t forget about amateurs. You can be injured just as badly in that park pick-up game as you can in a professional sports stadium, and sometimes even more seriously since proper protective equipment probably wasn’t used.
We ask our patients to be careful after rhinoplasty. Your nose is weaker than it was before, especially while you’re still healing. If an injury occurs, it can ruin the beautiful results Dr. Sajjadian created, and a revision rhinoplasty may be required to repair the damage.
Timing for returning to sports depends on the type of activities you participate in.
- Immediately- Walking can be resumed almost immediately after rhinoplasty.
- 2 Weeks Post-Surgery- Dr. Sajjadian will clear you to resume light exercise, including limited weight training, after a week or two.
- 3 Weeks Post-Surgery- Patients can resume cardio, but only at a 50% heart rate.
- 5 Weeks Post-Surgery- Dr. Sajjadian typically clears patients to return to yoga, cardio, and full weight training after five weeks.
- 6 Weeks Post-Surgery– Swimming is safe at six weeks post-surgery. Patients can also resume all activities other than contact sports.
The longest wait is for contact sports, like football and wrestling. We recommend waiting at least 6 months to resume these activities and using appropriate nose protection.
Not Ready for Rhinoplasty? Consider a Non-Surgical Nose Job Instead
Dr. Sajjadian performs many rhinoplasties on patients in their teens and 20s each year. He also advises many patients in these age groups to wait a little longer. If you’re not ready for surgery, for whatever reason, we may have nose reshaping options available. Ask Dr. Sajjadian how you can shape your nose without surgery.
A non-surgical nose job uses fillers to shape and contour the nose in just 15 minutes. This is an advanced injection technique that should only be performed by a highly skilled injector, like Dr. Sajjadian. Dermal fillers are injected into the nose and surrounding tissues. This option provides rhinoplasty quality results without surgery. Fillers are temporary and will require retreatment every few months to maintain nasal shape.
With a surgical rhinoplasty, the options are endless. Dr. Sajjadian can increase and decrease size, smooth bumps and fill in depressions, and much more. With non-surgical nasal correction, we are more limited in the scope of what can be achieved. This procedure won’t reduce the size of the nose, but judicious filler placement can often reduce the appearance of the nose by bringing it into the better balance with the rest of the face.
If you need to avoid surgery, this non-surgical option may be a good fit for changing the appearance of the nose.
How young is too young for rhinoplasty? As you can see, there is no simple answer to this question. If you’re wondering about age and nasal surgery, it’s time for a rhinoplasty consultation in Newport Beach, CA. Call us at 949-515-0550 to schedule yours. We welcome teens and adults of any age to our practice to learn more about cosmetic, functional, and ethnic rhinoplasty options in Southern California.