Actress Lisa Kudrow recently admitted that she had a “life-altering nose job” when she was 16 years old. The actress best known for her role as Phoebe in the sitcom Friends opted for the rhinoplasty before entering a new high school. The decision came shortly after her two close friends announced they no longer wanted to be her friends. She claims the rhinoplasty made her go from “hideous to not hideous” and that it was a “good, good change.”
Ms. Kudrow is not alone. The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery released the findings of a poll that found 76 percent of teens who undergo plastic surgery do so because of bullying. The AAFPRS surgeons also reported that rhinoplasty was the most popular surgical procedure among those under 21. In fact, 20 percent of the surgeon’s rhinoplasty patients fell into that age group.
Reasons Teens Seek Rhinoplasty
While Ms. Kudrow did not go into specifics about her issues with her nose, the majority of teen rhinoplasty patients list seven key complaints.
• Bridge of the nose is crooked.
• Deviated septum makes it harder to breathe.
• Nose has a hump.
• Nose is not a good size to balance the rest of the facial features.
• Nose looks crooked or uneven following an injury.
• The nostrils flair out.
• Tip of the nose droops or is too bulbous.
There is the occasional teen who simply wants a new nose to look more beautiful or more like a favorite star. Facial plastic surgeons are very careful about making sure a teen’s goals are realistic and in their best interests prior to a rhinoplasty.
Steps Taken in a Rhinoplasty for Teens
Any rhinoplasty begins with a consultation. Before you can have the surgery, you should be at least 15 or 16, possibly older, because it can be futile performing the nose surgery if your bones and cartilage are still growing and taking their final shape. Surgery performed too early may require a revision rhinoplasty procedure in the future to address any changes resulting from continued growth.
Two weeks before your rhinoplasty, you need to stop using any medications that interfere with your blood’s clotting process. This includes Advil, aspirin, Motrin, and other pain killers. Only products containing acetaminophen are allowed to relieve issues like headaches or menstruation cramps at this point.
On the day of your surgery, you are given anesthesia to help put you to sleep during the process. Incisions are made inside the nostrils and/or at the base of the nose between the two nostrils. The rhinoplasty surgeon removes or adds to bone and tissue to fix the problems you had with your nose. The incisions are sutured, and you’re taken off the anesthesia, wicks are placed within your nostrils, and you’re moved to a recovery room.
The wicks will be uncomfortable and require you to breathe through your mouth for a day. They are removed the day after surgery, so it’s a temporary discomfort. Your nose is placed in a cast for a week. Some people find that bruises and swelling appear under the eyes for a week or two. If you have sutures outside your nose, they will be removed at the same time as the cast.
Swelling on the upper nose lasts approximately two weeks. The swelling on the lower half of the nose can take months to subside. Plan for it to take up to a year to see the final results of your surgery.
Risks Involved in Teen Rhinoplasty
Generally, rhinoplasty is safe, but any surgery does have risks. Teens and their parents must understand these risks. While rare, there are people who have allergic reactions to anesthesia. Bleeding and infection are other risks.
Following a rhinoplasty, your nose may feel numb, or you may have temporary nerve damage. Scarring is usually minimal, but there may be small scars at the base of the nose, between the nostrils.
Before scheduling a rhinoplasty consultation, make sure you really understand the risks and benefits. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has a briefing paper on Plastic Surgery for Teenagers [http://www.plasticsurgery.org/news-and-resources/briefing-papers/plastic-surgery-for-teenagers.html] that contains plenty of helpful information. Your next step is to arrange a consultation with an experienced rhinoplasty surgeon. Dr. Sheldon Kabaker is a board certified facial plastic surgeon. He is also board certified in otolaryngology. Schedule an appointment with the Oakland rhinoplasty specialist by calling (415) 379-9015.