The high school years are full of discoveries for teens. New subjects are introduced, experimentation takes place, and learning abounds. Exploring new aspects of the world can lead to self-examination. Many teens come to the conclusion that they are unhappy with the size or shape of their nose during these years.
Some teens have discovered difficulty with breathing and are anxious to get the condition remedied. Others wish to achieve facial balance by reducing the size or changing the shape of their nose. Rhinoplasty, commonly known as a “nose job,” is one of the most-requested procedures for teens. Many want to have this procedure before going to college.
There are numerous reasons individuals consider rhinoplasty surgery:
- Hump nose
- Hook nose
- Crooked nose
- Injured nose
- Difficulty breathing
Sometimes a specific area of the nose is the concern:
- The tip of the nose
- The size of the nostrils
- The bridge of the nose
Experience is Important
Because the nose is such a prominent feature, it’s important to choose an experienced, highly-qualified surgeon. Consultations with teenagers and their parents are critical to the success of the procedure. At this important meeting, be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure and initiate an honest communication and dialogue to make sure the teen is mature enough to handle the surgery and is doing it for the right reasons.
Some individuals believe that reshaping their nose will transform their lives, make them more popular, or make them look like a famous person. These are examples of unrealistic expectations that need to be addressed.
Surgical alterations do not change a person’s temperament or personality. Rhinoplasty candidates must understand that self-development is ongoing throughout the teen years and that teenage rhinoplasty should be viewed as stepping stone to help a young person evolve and flourish.
Are You a Candidate?
When examining teenagers to determine whether the time is right for rhinoplasty, a thorough physical examination of the facial bones, septum, and cartilage are required. The surgeon must determine whether the teen’s bones have completed growing. Readiness varies between the ages of 15 and 19. The time must be right in order to avoid possible revision surgery at a later date. After this thorough assessment, the teen and his/her family can make an informed decision about whether to undergo surgery.
Part of the pre-surgery discussion should be about cost. Generally, health insurance does not pay for plastic surgery. In some cases, it may cover some or all surgical costs if there is a medical reason for the operation. At any rate, be sure you fully understand what costs you will be responsible for.
School vacations are a good time to schedule rhinoplasty, which is an outpatient procedure. After the surgery, soft packing will most likely be placed in the patient’s nostrils and splint will be placed on the nose to keep the bones stable for healing. There is some pain, but cold compresses are the key to keep swelling and bruising to a minimum. The splint is removed after approximately one week. During recovery, the patient must rest and follow post-surgical instructions to a “T.”
Patience is Key
Patience is important after rhinoplasty. The results are not instantaneous. Your surgeon will work with you to determine when it is safe to resume sports and other strenuous activity. The patient must agree to give the surgery time to heal.
Bruising and swelling are a normal part of the recovery process. It gradually fades; some swelling will remain and diminish over the next several weeks. Teenage skin heals quickly and smoothly, and the results last a lifetime.
Dr. Farzad R. Nahai, a board-certified plastic surgeon, has been in practice in Atlanta since 2004 and specializes in plastic surgery of the face, breast, and body, as well as injectables such as Botox and facial fillers. He is a graduate of Emory University’s School of Medicine.