Worst Case Scenario of Rhinoplasty on a Young Patient?

It has already been established that I am too young for Rhinoplasty and that I should wait. Although it is difficult, I probably will wait. I am going to see a surgeon soon, and I just want to know from others, what's the worst case scenario being too young for plastic surgery? What are some high, moderate, low risks? What especially makes it risky that I'm too young for the procedure? Thanks.

Doctor Answers 13

Young rhinoplasty patients are a different breed of cat

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In my experience, young rhinoplasty patients are frequently difficult to satisfy because they tend to be highly perfectionistic and highly self-critical. That is what makes them want the surgery in the first place, but also what makes them find faults in even a well-done procedure. The longer you wait, and the more mature you are, and the more you could live with it or without it, the better you will like your result.

Teenage Rhinoplasty should be performed when your nose stops growing

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Typically, it is advisable to wait to perform a rhinoplasty on a male patient when he reaches the age of 16 and a female at 15. However, I would wait longer if you are a tall person or projected to be tall. The best nose is one that fits the face. Operating on a nose before you complete your physical growth could result in a nose that will not proportionately grow with you since it could affect the growth of the underlying cartilage and bone. For example, if you are 6 ft 5 inches, then a short nose would not fit your face. However, once you stop growing or are close to that point then a rhinoplasty can be performed.

Scott Trimas, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Rhinoplasty before age 16

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It is just not advisable to find a surgeon that will operate on your nose if you are less than 16 years of age. It is just not a good idea. Both cartilage and bone is not completely grown, and the rhinoplasty may arrest the development of the cartilage and bone of the nose. Please wait until age 16.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Age for Rhinoplasty

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Your interest in having rhinoplasty as soon as possible is not unusual.. The right age is determined by gender and physical and psychological maturity. For females, that is usually 14-16 years. For males, it is 16-18 years. Parental consent is also important. Within the ages mentioned, I think the concern about interfering with growth centers is over-rated.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Rhinoplasty and Facial Growth

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The decision depends upon many factors. Chronological age, developmental age, type of correction desired, and current size of your nose. Rhinoplasty has been done as young as 14. However. if there is any question, it is always worth waiting until age 15 or 16 in a female patient.

The concern is that the surgery will disturb growth centers in the septum and outer nasal structures.

  • If you do not have functional breathing problems or a crooked nose, then the septum should not be an issue.
  • Most patients seeking rhinoplasty have a nose that they feel is too big for their face. In that context, interfering with growth centers tends not to be an issue of concern.

One additional piece of advice for you: If the shape of your face is not quite set, then you should choose a surgical plan in which the nose is left a little bigger. That way, when your face develops into its true adult size, the nose will balance well.

Richard W. Westreich, MD
Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

The youngest age for rhinoplasty

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The earliest age to perform rhinoplasty is 14. At that age, the majority of the nasal growth has occurred. It is considered "safe" to perform rhinoplasty at that age. However, unless there is major deformity, I prefer waiting until at least 16 to 18, given the potential interference with nasal growth centers. In cases of elective cosmetic surgery, you need to minimize your risk as much as possible.

Amir M. Karam, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

Rhinoplasty poses no real risk except continued nose growth

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Depending on your age and the maturity of your facial bones, a rhinoplasty can be done at 13 to14 years old. Males mature later than females. There's no real risk except that your nose might grow more after the surgery if it wasn't mature before the surgery.

G. Gregory Gallico III, MD
Boston Plastic Surgeon

There is no grave risk to rhinoplasty at a young age

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Rhinoplasty in teenage patients is not a uncommon as many think, and in my years as a plastic surgeon I have performed very many nasal procedures on teenagers and children for birth related conditions, specifically cleft lip and palate, and all have done very well. I have in fact, performed nasal shaping for cosmetic reasons alone, for patients in their early teens.

There are two important criteria that help make this possible, facial maturity, and emotional maturity. You may have heard from your parents that age is just a number, and this time (probably the only time) they are indeed right. We all follow our own growth curve which for young women accelerates at age 10 to 11 though in some later. We lose the facial shape of a child, the lower face fills and becomes longer. We no longer have the look of the adolescent, all lips and nose, and near the age of 14 again sooner or later as the case may be, you and your classmates will look like, well...women. At this point facial form and development will have matured and will give us the best idea of just how to complete rhinoplasty or nasal shaping for the right balance and a very pretty result to last a lifetime.

But let's not forget the second criteria. Just because you look shockingly mature, for most, emotional maturity has yet to follow; what parents fear most. The biggest risk is a misunderstanding of the procedure, and what the result will or should look like. The risk is a poor experience or at worst disappointment.

As you grow and mature you will know when you are ready and know what you want, and your surgeon will know better how to provide the result fit for a life time. Your nose does indeed continue to change and grow throughout your life, however if nasal shaping is well done it should grow and flow with the aging process and look quite well until you are far older than you would ever wish to be. Be patient. The right time will come.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

What if your face changes more than your nose?

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The only significant risk in preforming premature rhinoplasty is that there might be a difference in growth between face and nose. How old you are and your gender influence the outcome.

There has always been assumed that surgery might alter the growth zones in bone and cartilage suggesting that one might negatively influence the growth of the nose if the young patient were still growing. Frankly, there is not perfect science on that subject.
In matters of cosmetic facial surgery, always best to be cautious and conservative. Waiting another year or two, depending on age, should not be considered unreasonable. After all, the new nose will last the rest of your life. You want to do the rhinoplasty wisely and at the right time.
Remember this: " When it doubt, do without".

Robert Kotler, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

How old are you?

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What is too young? This surgery can be done when your face and nose are about adult size and you are mature enough to tolerate a change. Girls can start at 14 - 15 - boys usually I wait until they are over 17. The worst risk with any surgery is death, no matter how old or young you are.

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.