Our teenage years are one of the most challenging periods in our lives. As we transition from childhood to adulthood, suddenly our physical appearance takes center stage. Although teenage insecurities are a normal part of adolescence, if a young person’s self-esteem is adversely affected by unsatisfactory facial features, such as the shape or size of one’s nose, then rhinoplasty may provide long lasting relief. In addition, teens may seek nasal surgery to address breathing difficulties and injuries related to accidents. Los Angeles plastic surgeon Geoffrey R. Keyes, a nationally known rhinoplasty surgeon, specializes in the particular needs of adolescents. Dr. Keyes is currently Secretary of The Rhinoplasty Society, the premier rhinoplasty educational society in the world.
When Are Teens Ready for Rhinoplasty?
This question has two parts: physical and psychological.
Physically speaking, adolescents should only seek nasal reconstructive surgery when their noses have reached their full size. The age is different for everyone, but commonly it’s 13 to 16 years old for girls and 15 to 17 years old for boys. Most boys mature later than girls, and this explains why their procedures typically take place later.
In psychological terms, teenagers must determine their reason for surgery and evaluate the pluses and minuses. For instance, if their wish to undergo surgery has to do with quality-of-life issues, such as breathing more freely or repairing damage that stems from sports injuries, he or she must consider whether the benefits of undergoing surgery outweigh the risks and inconveniences.
What Is Involved in the Decision-Making Process?
Teens and their parents should have a frank discussion about the procedure prior throughout the decision-making process. Nasal reconstruction is a serious operation. Patients and their caregivers should determine whether they can handle the recovery period, which may involve bleeding, bruising, pain, and swelling.
Dr. Geoffrey Keyes, a double board certified facial plastic surgeon, uses his unparalleled training to evaluate both the physical and emotional preparedness of the teen. The prospective patient must understand what will and will not happen. Is he or she emotionally mature enough to undergo a transformation of one of the body’s most prominent features? Has the patient separated rhinoplasty myth from reality in terms of the procedure’s outcome? For example, from an emotional perspective, the teen may expect that his or her new nose will bring endless happiness and popularity, which are unrealistic and unattainable. From a physical perspective an adolescent may initially want the nose of a celebrity, but this may not be possible, and it may not even lead to the best result.
Dr. Geoffrey Keyes considers the patient’s entire face when determining the best surgical approach. While a patient may initially want a certain nose, it’s a surgeon’s responsibility to provide recommendations that best compliment his or her patient’s overall appearance.
The nose is one of the most memorable and pronounced features we have. It’s structure and look can significantly affect our quality of life. For these reasons, teenage rhinoplasty should only be performed under the care of a board certified plastic surgeon and with the support of caregivers who have fully assessed the procedure’s risks and benefits.