If you asked every cosmetic surgeon in Phoenix this question, you’d get a wide range of different answers. I am typically very conservative when it comes to performing surgery on younger patients, and my Scottsdale rhinoplasty patients are no exception. Although last year in the U.S. more than 17,000 nose surgery procedures were performed on patients younger than 18, I generally prefer that patients have reached adulthood before making any decisions about plastic surgery.
I want to be sure that my patients are physically and emotionally mature enough to respond well to their surgery. For some patients, this may be true at 16, but for others, growth continues through the teens. If rhinoplasty is performed for teenager whose nose shape is continuing to change, the changes occurring after surgery may create aesthetic or functional problems. Additionally, I want to be sure that all of my cosmetic surgery patients have carefully considered their procedure and recovery, and that they have realistic expectations. Teenagers are more prone to impulsive decisions and are often influenced by peer pressure, and some teens may not be emotionally ready to permanently change their appearance.
There are exceptions, however. Some teenagers mature earlier, both physically and emotionally. There are also cases such as injuries or nasal deformities that may warrant surgical correction at an earlier age. In my opinion, the only way to determine if someone is old enough for rhinoplasty is through a careful evaluation, and open discussion between the surgeon, the family, and the patient.