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Does Your Teen Client Want a Nose Job?—With Exclusive Teen Rhinoplasty Checklist from Sam Rizk, MD

Posted: June 2, 2011

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What are the most common reasons teens have rhinoplasty? Teens typically want a hump removed or reduced, or to straighten out the bridge of the nose. Another common complaint is a large, hanging or bulbous tip that they want to have reshaped. Some teens do not like the size of the nose because it is too large for their face, and/or the size or shape of their nostrils. In some cases, after a traumatic or sports injury, there may be problems with breathing as well. I will often repair a deviated nasal septum at the same time as cosmetic alteration in these cases. Many teens also have a chin implant or facial liposuction at the same time as a rhinoplasty to improve their profile.

Who is a good candidate? In general, teens should first discuss the idea of undergoing a rhinoplasty with their parents. Teens are minors and will require parental consent to have a consultation under the age of 18. The teenager should be mature enough to understand that rhinoplasty is a serious operation, and be fully informed of the possible side effects, complications and results. The teens that tend to do best with surgery are well-adjusted with a good support system at home, and very motivated to have the surgery.

What are some possible warning signs? If the teen thinks that having a bump taken off his or her nose is going to solve all their problems or fix their social life, that is a red flag. If the teen shows signs of depression or body dysmorphia, these are definite warning signs and parents should consider intervention with a therapist or social worker. Patients who are overly concerned and obsessive about a small or minor flaw or asymmetry are often not ideal candidates for any cosmetic or elective procedure. I am also more cautious with teens who bring in photographs of their favorite celebrities, supermodels or singers as examples of what their nose should look like. These are often very unrealistic and will be hard to satisfy.

What are the risks? Recovery from rhinoplasty takes time and patients need support from family and friends. There will be swelling, bruising around the eyes is possible, and most patients have a splint with a gauze drip pad immediately after surgery for several days. There will be some discomfort for 24–72 hours. The end results of rhinoplasty will not be present for at least six weeks and the final result may take 6-12 months to be visible. Some teen patients get easily discouraged that the healing process takes too long.