Plastic surgery is considered an elective but can be life-changing for patients with disfigurement. At one time, this surgery was limited to adults except in rare cases. For example, in 2013 the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reported that members performed 63,600 surgeries on patients between 13-19 years of age. Rhinoplasty is one of the most common surgeries performed on teens.
If your teenager is unhappy with his or her nose, then you have considered when to answer “yes” to surgery. Read on to find out when your teen should get a nose job.

Timing and Facial Development

There are no laws in the United States that prevent minors from getting plastic surgery. If you are under the age of 18 years old, then you will need parental consent. However, many surgeons are not willing to operate on just anyone. They want to make sure the timing is right in terms of facial development when it comes to teen patients.

The septum is the part of the nose that separates the right and left nostrils. It is in the middle of the nose and is made of cartilage and bone. The septum is one of the main growth centers when it comes to midfacial growth. If you disturb this growth center prematurely, then it can cause abnormal facial development.

When it comes to getting a rhinoplasty, timing is very important. Teens should not get a rhinoplasty until their nose has reached adult size. The nose must have reached 90 percent of its growth before considering surgery. Adult size can occur as early as age 13 or 14 in girls and at age 15 or 16 in boys. The responsibility rests on the parents to help their child make the right decision.

Parents should start by talking to a qualified surgeon who has experience and expertise in this field. This surgeon will need to perform an evaluation to check for facial growth. After the evaluation, your surgeon can tell you the appropriate time to consider a nose job.

Emotional Maturity

Your teen’s emotional maturity along with having realistic expectations are factors to consider for surgery. The reasons teenagers give for plastic surgery are different from adults. Some teens see plastic surgery as a way to gain acceptance and fit in with peers. On the other hand, adults view plastic surgery as a way to stand out from the crowd.

According to the ASPS, more than 200,000 people 19 years and younger had either major or minor plastic surgical procedures in 2013. Cosmetic surgeons want teen patients to have realistic expectations about the outcome of the surgery. They spend time talking to teen patients to make sure they are mature enough to handle the procedure. For example, it is unrealistic to think a nose job will make you popular.

On the other hand, surgeons want to make sure the surgery is the patient’s decision. They do not want parents to force surgery on their teenagers. Surgeons also want to make sure you are having the surgery for the right reason. Rhinoplasty is often performed on teens for medical reasons.

Some patients have the procedure to repair the cartilage in their nose. Others have the surgery to make their noses smaller. Your teen must be having surgery for the right reasons and should have realistic expectations about the outcome.

Commitment to Pre and Post-Operative Guidelines

To perform the rhinoplasty, surgeons must have the patient’s commitment to follow pre and post-operative guidelines. You must prepare for surgery. These preparations are important for a successful outcome. Here are the pre-operative guidelines:

  • Get bloodwork done
  • Tell your doctor about your medications
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid taking aspirin, herbal supplements, and anti-inflammatory drugs

Your surgeon will give you specific preoperative guidelines to prepare for your surgery. You must follow these guidelines to prevent unnecessary complications. After having the surgery, you will need to concentrate on the recovery.

You may be required to get packing inside of your nose or wear a splint. A splint is placed on the outside to provide support. Your surgeon will give you specific post-operative guidelines to follow. These guidelines may include:

  • Information on how to care for the surgical site
  • Medication to aid in healing
  • Complications to look for
  • Follow up appointments

If you have any questions about the recovery process, then you should express your concerns to your doctor. According to Daniel G. Becker, rhinoplasty expert of New Jersey, it takes a year or longer to heal from a nose job. The bruising usually goes down within two weeks and swelling within a few months.

Parents must choose the right cosmetic surgeon to perform the procedure. State laws allow any licensed physician to use the titles, cosmetic surgeon and plastic surgeon. Licensed physicians can use these titles without having any training as a surgeon.

You should look for doctors with accredited medical facilities and check for certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). If you have complications, then an experienced surgeon working with a team will be able to evaluate and correct the situation.

If your teenager meets the requirements in this article, then he or she may be a candidate for surgery. The teen years are a complicated time. Teenagers are trying to figure out who they are while connecting with peers. Parents need to be involved and act as a guide.