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How old do you have to be to get a nose job?

30th August 2018

It has long been the case that children as young as 6 years old have surgery to flatten protruding ears when their ears are nearly fully grown. Corrective ear surgery - known as otoplasty, or more frequently, pinning the ears back - is often carried out to improve a child’s confidence.

Although children can often feel self-conscious about their nose, it is advisable to wait for a nose job (rhinoplasty).

A nose job reshapes the nose while making sure that it still stays in proportion to the face. The procedure can either be carried out due to dissatisfaction with the appearance of the nose (most commonly, with the patient feeling their nose is too big for their face) or as a result of an injury or breathing problems.

Typically, it takes until a child is aged around 10 or 11 for any nasal abnormalities to show up, yet it is advised to wait until a teenager has reached the age of 17 or 18 before reshaping the nose as the nose needs to first stop growing. You’ll also be able to approach the decision to proceed with surgery in a level-headed way at this age.

The post-surgical downtime of two weeks is also something to consider, as the nose and eye area will be swollen for a couple of weeks after the procedure, so you may feel more comfortable staying at home during this recovery period. Taking arnica on the run up to the surgery and continuing afterwards may help to limit any post-operative bruising.

You would have to factor this time around your school work or studies - during the long summer holidays may be a good time for the procedure.

A nose job can provide a life-changing boost in self-confidence

Experts say that surgically altering the body should only be undertaken for justifiable reasons with young people.

For example, if bullying at school is causing extreme emotional strain, corrective nasal surgery which reshapes the nose can be performed and will bring both relief and a boost in self-confidence. The shape of your nose can really affect your self-image at this impressionable age.

There is always a need for the surgeon to consider each enquiry on a case-by-case basis as children and teenagers mature emotionally and physically at different rates. The first question your surgeon will ask is why they want the surgery.

You will also need to be old enough to be able to understand the recovery time, risks and pain involved with rhinoplasty.

If you simply want to look like your favourite celebrity, this is not reason enough. However, if you are being teased about your nose and it is affecting your self confidence, this is something to take seriously.

If you feel you are becoming introverted due to insecurities around your appearance, this can affect your social interactions, your relationships, your studies and even impact upon your confidence to apply for a job.

Nose jobs as a result of an increased pressure on young people today

Young people’s concerns with their body image is an increasing problem for the NSPCC's ChildLine service, perhaps due to the pressure of social media.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a survey completed in 2017 by the National Citizen Service found that 27% of late teens cared more about their appearance than their physical health.

This highlights the increased pressure that young people are under and it is the surgeon's remit to decide whether a cosmetic procedure is necessary and whether it would change your life for the better.

Official guidance for rhinoplasty surgery

Guidance from the General Medical Council (GMC) is that under 18s must only undergo surgery if it is in the patient’s best interests, for example, if they are being bullied at school.

Any cosmetic surgery is a serious commitment and so evaluating the procedure and making sure it is the right choice for you is vital. To discuss if rhinoplasty is right for you, get in touch with us an we will be happy to talk about your options.


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