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Teens and Nose Jobs (Rhinoplasty)

Getting their nose reshaped is the most common cosmetic surgery done among American teens.

It's usually an outpatient procedure done under general anesthesia. This means you go to where the surgery is done and then go home the same day.

Getting a "nose job," which doctors call rhinoplasty, can be very simple or very complex. When done correctly by an experienced surgeon, it can make a big difference in how a person looks.

When Can Teens Have Rhinoplasty?

Teens should not have a nose job until the nose has reached its adult size. This normally happens at about age 15 or 16 for girls. It usually happens a year or so later for boys.

What Are Some of the Types of Rhinoplasty?

Types of rhinoplasty include:

  • Removing a hump on the nose
  • Straightening the bridge
  • Reshaping the nose's tip
  • Increasing or decreasing the size of the nostrils
  • Correcting the nose after an injury
  • Opening breathing passages
  • Making the nose bigger or smaller

Nose jobs can be done to change how you look or for medical reasons. For example, some people may need surgery to repair a problem with the cartilage that divides one nostril form the other. Others may just want to make their nose smaller.

What Are the Risks of Rhinoplasty?

Any type of surgery has risks. These include bleeding, infection, and allergic reaction to anesthesia. Risks of rhinoplasty include:

  • Numbness
  • Nosebleeds
  • Scarring at the base of the nose
  • Bursting of small blood vessels on the skin's surface
  • Swelling
  • Permanent nerve damage
  • Need for a second or third operation

Before getting a nose job, teens and their parents or guardians should talk extensively with the surgeon and weigh all of the risks and benefits. Honest communication between you, your parents, and the surgeon is very important to the success of the operation.

Many plastic surgeons take a lot of time to talk with teens before doing surgery. They want to make sure the teen is mature enough to handle it, is doing it for the correct reasons, and has realistic expectations about the results. For instance, thinking changing your nose will change your whole life and make you more popular is not being realistic.

After a nose job, recovery takes patience and support from family and friends. You will need to keep your head elevated for at least 24 hours after the operation. And there will be some pain and swelling (which can be managed with medication and cold compresses).

Some people become discouraged with the swelling and how they look immediately after the operation. But when the swelling goes down, the redness disappears and the nose fully heals. This can take weeks, but most people like the results.

 

How to Choose a Surgeon

Look for a surgeon who is experienced in plastic surgery of the nose and who has a reputation for achieving patient satisfaction. The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is the most common body that certifies rhinoplasty surgeons.

It's best to have the procedure done in an accredited facility. If you have a complication, an experienced surgeon working with a well-trained team will be able to assess and correct the situation.

You should talk to your surgeon in advance to describe your goals and learn about the risks and benefits. You should also ask your surgeon for information on what it will cost. If you have health insurance, talk to your health insurance company so you're clear on what will be covered and what you will pay for. Health insurance companies usually don't pay for plastic surgery unless there's a medical reason for the operation.

 

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