Dear Coco: As you can see from the different answers, there appears to be 2 viewpoints on the minimum age that one can perform rhinoplasty. My belief is that the correct answer is with the the group of surgeons who believe that the real answer depends on the individual: ie. it is not based on chronological age (the number of years) but rather on physiological age (the amount of growth that has been completed).
If physiologic age is near completion then I feel it is OK to proceed with rhinoplasty. Growth can be complete anywhere from 13 to 16 years of age for girls and 15 to 18 years of age for boys. I have performed rhinoplasty safely and successfully in people within these age ranges.
In order to determine physiologic age, 2 pieces of information are very useful:
Individual growth charts. Careful monthly records of height , clothing size and shoe size will indicate whether growth has plateaued or not.
X-rays of the hands and wrists will show whether growth plates are closed.
Other factors that should be taken into account are:
What are the reasons that the young individual wants to have rhinoplasty. Is he or she being realistic? Does the patient want rhinoplasty or do the parents want rhinoplasty for their child?
How severe is the deformity?
Are there severe functional problems such as nasal obstruction?
When all of these issues have been considered, one can then decide what the best time to perform rhinoplasty in the given child.
Sincerely, Mario J. Imola, MD, DDS.