When a Teen Wants Rhinoplasty
Almost all parents consider their children as beautiful. But we have to realize that sometimes your child doesn’t feel the beauty in the same way you do. They are much harder on themselves, in fact, studies indicate that nearly all teens have negative feelings about an aspect of the appearance of their face and body at some point during their teen years. As your child develops into an adult, eventually most of these self image insecurities pass, but for some the source of their self-consciousness is, as the saying goes, “plain as the nose on your face”.
My Teen Wants a Nose Job
If your child has expressed an entreaty to alter the size or shape of their nose with rhinoplasty surgery ((known more commonly as a nose job), it’s important to listen to their comments and encourage them to communicate their feelings and concerns. How long has your teen been complaining about their nose? For years? A few months now that they are in a new “group”? Just a few weeks? Or is this desire for a different nose news to you? It is essential to know how deeply this issue affects them and not take insecurities lightly. However, you need to communicate enough to determine that the desire for rhinoplasty is for personal reasons, not simply peer pressure to achieve a certain look or emulate the latest celebrity.
Statistically, a nose job is the most common cosmetic surgery among teens. The American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) indicates the number of teenage clients receiving plastic surgery treatments has increased more than five times over since 2000.
There are many factors to consider when addressing the potential for teen rhinoplasty in addition to the impact on your teen’s self-esteem. It’s very important to convey that rhinoplasty is major surgery and the risks, benefits and options should be carefully researched and considered. As a triple board certified physician in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Otolaryngology, Dr. Silver often consults teens and their parents about rhinoplasty. Dr. Silver understands that along with the insecurities and fears that often accompany the teen years, having a “big nose” can be a source of self-consciousness and discontent with their appearance.
How the Nose Grows
We are aware that adolescence triggers many physical changes, and these include facial transformations. The face enlarges as sinuses continue to grow; jaws begin to increase in size (especially among boys); and most noticeably, the nose changes both shape and size as the face enlarges. In some cases this facial growth results in what is deemed a “big nose”.
In technical terms, the nose, specifically the wall that separates the two sides of the nose, called the septum, serves as the focal point or center for mid-facial growth. So, according to Dr.Silver, timing is critical, when considering a nose job. If this growth center is disturbed too early in a teen’s facial development, there is a potential for abnormal development of the face. That’s where consulting a qualified surgeon such as Dr. Silver, who has the experience and expertise to evaluate a teen’s facial growth and determine the appropriate time to consider a rhinoplasty.
When is a Teen Ready for Rhinoplasty?
Both age and maturity is an important factor when determining the right time for a nose job. As a skilled surgeon, Dr. Silver’s goal is to ensure that the outcome of the aesthetic surgery is natural and realistic. It is critical that the nose be proportional to the patient’s face so that the teen’s appearance is improved but they still look like themselves. The key is for most classmates not to really be able to figure out what’s different – maybe a haircut, different makeup, braces off? When the patient’s new nose harmoniously blends in with the rest of the teen’s facial features, even their close friends, (most of whom probably know about the surgery), will probably not even really remember what they used to look like “before nose”. As long as the patients notice the difference in their less conspicuous profile, self-confidence and pride in their appearance should blossom.
Typically most girls are physically ready for rhinoplasty around age 15 or 16, whereas the right time for boys is usually later, around 17 or 18 for boys, although nose surgery can typically be performed successfully by age 16 for boys that mature earlier. If the teen is anxious about the operation and post-operative recovery period, pain medications may not work as effectively, and healing may be prolonged, so maturity is a factor to be seriously considered and weighed in the decision to move forward.
Explaining Downtime and Discomfort
The most frequently asked question is how long does it takes after surgery to be able to return to normal activities? On average, most teens need about one full week for recuperating and resting after surgery. Most of Dr. Silver’s patients return to normal physical activity within three weeks after surgery, with the exception of contact sports (i.e. football, wrestling), basketball, or any sport where ball or body to nose contact is possible. Such sports should be avoided for at least 6-8 weeks. Most teens don’t want to openly “advertise” their revised nose, so it’s best to take advantage of the summer and winter breaks to undergo surgery.
How much pain will I be in? is the second most common concern with teens. As with any surgical procedure, there is a level of post-operative discomfort. Dr. Silver likes to reassure his patients that they will not feel anything during the actual surgery. However, your teen needs to be able to tolerate tenderness and soreness after the surgery, which tends to subside on the second or third day after the rhinoplasty. Pain medication will be prescribed to counter the initial period of pain. The patient’s face, particularly around the eyes, may look bruised and swollen for a couple of days. The nose itself will take a few weeks to reach its ultimate final appearance.
If you and your teen would like to learn more about rhinoplasty, setting up a few consultations together with Dr. Silver is recommended. Dr. Silver is an extremely ethical and conscientious surgeon, so there may be situations following an initial consultation where he feels surgery may not appropriate at that time. Not only will he confirm that facial development has reached the necessary milestone, he also verifies that the decision to have surgery is in the best interest of the teen and desired for the right reasons. Also critical to Dr. Silver is evaluating the teen’s emotional maturity and that the teen has realistic expectations of the surgical outcome. Dr. Silver uses computer generated imaging to create “before and after” images of the remodeled nose to generate consensus and explain the procedure. The patient’s commitment in following pre and post-operative guidelines is also considered.
Contact Rhinoplasty Specialists of Atlanta and Dr. Silver to schedule a consultation at his new location, the Atlanta Institute for Facial Aesthetic Surgery, conveniently located within the Northside Hospital Campus in Atlanta. He will be happy to meet with you and your teen to openly discuss all aspects of the surgery.