Getting a rhinoplasty, or a “nose job” is typically a big emotional decision that comes with a sizeable price tag. Patients (or their parents) often ask when it’s appropriate to go under the knife. The answer to this question is philosophical and may vary with each surgeon. My recommendation is to postpone the surgery at least until you are no longer overtly growing in stature; for women, this is about 14 years in age, and about 16 years for men. However, each patient is different.
Making the decision to alter your body permanently can be a very emotional decision and is also very personal. There may be some shared decision making by the patient and his or her parent when he or she is not yet legally an adult. When patients are younger, their parents are much more involved in the health care decision making and are often holding the purse strings. When the patient’s desires and circumstances allow for it, it can be good for patients to wait until adulthood to undergo rhinoplasty surgery. This allows them to feel more ownership over their own body and health.
I think the ideal time for a rhinoplasty in my younger patients is the summer between high school and college. This is a natural new beginning, and is less likely to involve answering questions about an appearance change. For my patients in their 20s and beyond, any 2 week period when they can avoid strenuous activity will allow adequate time for the acute healing from a nose job. A rhinoplasty is still delicate, though, for about 6 weeks after surgery, so it is important to avoid any contact sports or potential nasal trauma for at least a month and a half.
The decision to change your appearance can be a big one, and it is of the utmost importance to have a surgeon with whom you feel you can easily communicate. Regardless of when a person chooses to consider surgery, I do my best to align my patient’s goals and expectations with what I can realistically achieve with surgery. The best results are produced when my patients and I have a mutual vision of an ideal outcome.
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