Q. I would like my daughter to have a rhinoplasty. She is 14. Is that too young?
A. While 14 is rather young for a rhinoplasty, there are extenuating circumstances that would change that.
Rhinoplasty is one of the more common cosmetic surgeries for adolescents. The ideal time for a young girl to undergo a rhinoplasty is approximately two years after their first menstruation. This means that the patient will not undergo significant facial and nasal structural changes after that.
Of course, there are “young” adolescents and there are “older” adolescents with respect to their facial structure. If a patient undergoes a rhinoplasty too early, facial growth may be inhibited as the septum helps push out the facial structures to mature appropriately.
I have been doing surgery of the nose for more than 30 years, and I have never seen a patient whose face did not form properly because of a rhinoplasty.
In addition to the physical changes that occur with maturity, it is also important that a patient is emotionally ready to undergo a rhinoplasty. Facial changes are significant, something a younger patient may not fully comprehend.
The pressure of social media has increased the demand for this type of surgery. I have found a greater need to scrutinize patients who undergo this procedure to make sure they are not doing it out of peer or familial pressure.
With social media and the bullying that occurs as a result of a nasal deformity, I have infrequently operated on patients younger than 14 years old. In these patients, I have a psychological evaluation along with a serious discussion with the parents to determine if the patient is ready for a surgery.
In patients who are younger, a “minimally invasive” rhinoplasty is undertaken with the understanding that a possible revision surgery will be needed in the future. In my 30-plus years of doing nasal surgery, I have only had to do one revision in a patient who was younger than 14. We did a rhinoplasty to help manage her bullying in school.
More often than not, patients who are 14 years old or younger are asked to wait for one or two years to undergo a rhinoplasty. Usually they are disappointed, but are happy when they get great results.
Carlos Wolf is a partner in Miami Plastic Surgery and is board certified. Email questions to him at Cwolf@miamiplasticsurgery.com. For more information, videos, and before-and-after photos, follow @carloswolfmd and @mpsmedspa on Instagram.