Rhinoplasty for Teens? A Plastic Surgeon's Answers
How young is too young? What do parents think?
BALTIMORE, March 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Whenever someone mentions teenagers and plastic surgery in the same sentence, concerned parents are likely to raise an uproar. While such a protective instinct for our children is often warranted, it is sometimes misplaced. Few people complain about plastic surgery for 6-year-olds to have their protruding ears pinned back.
In an interview with board certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Patrick J. Byrne, he talked candidly about rhinoplasty for teens. Dr. Byrne is the rhinoplasty specialist at the Cosmetic Surgery Center of Maryland.
How common is rhinoplasty?
Dr. Byrne: In Baltimore rhinoplasty is the second most common plastic surgery procedure, and it is the most common with teens.
Is it wrong to perform plastic surgery on teenagers who can't even legally vote?
DB: On a philosophical level, perhaps. We don't want to send our children the wrong message. We want them to feel confident in themselves. Looks, we tell them, should not be so important. It's what a person is on the inside that should matter.
However, extensive research in the US has shown that attractive people are more successful, make more money, get more attention from teachers, are treated better by peers, and are more likely to be selected for leadership roles. The importance of appearance is drilled into children from an early age through our media: television, sports, even politics.
What do parents think about plastic surgery for their children?
DB: In my experience, when a teenager wants rhinoplasty, sometimes one parent is in favor of the procedure, but the other maintains that "our child looks perfect." It's often up to the doctor to help the parents weigh the benefits against the risks. What degrees of improvement can they expect? How safe is the surgery?
What is an appropriate age to undergo rhinoplasty?
DB: For boys, 17; for girls, 15. We have to wait until the teen has fully developed. Otherwise, the effects of the surgery (the scar tissue) can prevent the teen's face from developing properly.
Is the procedure any different for a teen versus an adult?
DB: The procedure takes approximately 2 hours, depending upon the patient's individual needs. This and the use of anesthesia are no different than with adults. Recovery is surprisingly much easier for teens, with less pain than anticipated. Most experience mild discomfort. Bruising lasts 7-10 days, and half of the teens I've treated need no post-op packing at all.
The primary difference during the recovery is the post-op limitations. Since we can't risk blunt trauma -- further injury to the nose -- teens must refrain from sports for 3-4 weeks to allow for complete healing. That's awfully hard for an active teenager.
Do you do anything different for a teen?
DB: Not exactly; I use a new technique, but I use it for every patient. As late as the 1990s, surgeons performed rhinoplasty using reductive techniques, removing cartilage. This technique often weakened the framework of the nose, sometimes causing it to change or dent as the patient aged.
The technique I use, called the structure approach, reshapes and repositions nose cartilage, preserving its strength so your nose maintains its shape as you age. While the structure approach has proven to produce better results, not all surgeons use it. It is a longer, more invasive surgery, but I believe in delivering the best results possible.
About the Cosmetic Surgery Center of Maryland: CSCMD is a nationally recognized cosmetic surgery practice located in the Baltimore area. Their offices, the Bellona Surgery Center, and the Be Lifestyle Luxury Medical Spa are at 8322 Bellona Avenue, Suite 300, Towson, MD 21204. They can be reached at 410-296-0414 or at www.cscmd.com. Dr. Patrick Byrne is one of the few plastic surgeons who only uses the structure approach to rhinoplasty.
Media Contact: Lauren Weinberg, Cosmetic Surgery Center of Maryland, 410-296-0414, http://www.cscmd.com
SOURCE Cosmetic Surgery Center of Maryland