With review and feedback from Otolaryngologists Neela Rao, MD (Fort Mill, Rock Hill), and Mark Weigel, MD (Huntersville)

An increasing number of young people are feeling insecure about how they look, especially in this era of social media. Studies show millennials are seeking plastic surgery at a younger age. Today, we’d like to talk about the appropriate age to consider facial plastic surgery.

Are they physically ready for facial plastic surgery?

Neela Rao, MD

A major factor in whether someone is ready for facial plastic surgery is whether that part of their body has finished developing. This can vary greatly, depending on what work is under consideration. For example, an otoplasty, or ear pinning, can be performed on children as young as 5.

For those interested in a rhinoplasty, or “nose job,” it is recommended they wait until the age of 15 or 16 in girls, and 16 or 17 in boys, when the nose has nearly stopped growing.

If a child has serious acne issues, it is important to have medical control from a dermatologist first prior to considering skin resurfacing procedures to improve acne scarring, CEENTA ENT doctor and facial plastics specialist Neela Rao, MD, said.

Are they emotionally ready for facial plastic surgery?

In addition to physical preparedness, it is essential for a young patient to have the emotional and mental maturity for such a procedure. The patient must have adequate support at home. Regardless of age, it is important that the patient want to have the procedure for him or herself and not feel pressured by a parent, guardian, friend, or spouse.

Facial plastic surgery is also not recommended for teenagers who are prone to mood swings or erratic behavior, who abuse drugs or alcohol, and who are being treated for mental health concerns.

Also, your child must have realistic expectations and understand the limitations of what plastic surgery can accomplish. Contrary to what they might see on TV, facial plastic surgery is not a miracle procedure that can make someone look like an entirely different person. It is, instead, a way to enhance a person’s natural features and restore balance to the face.

Are they prepared for the recovery?

Another important thing to remember is that facial plastic surgery is still surgery. After the procedure, there will likely be a period of discomfort as well as some degree of swelling and bruising. This can be an emotional journey because it's common to look “worse” for a period of time until the healing is complete, Dr. Rao said.

Mark Weigel, MD

Also, an optimal result requires self-care responsibilities on the part of the patient. For example, laser skin resurfacing requires regular cleaning and application of ointments or medical dressing, CEENTA ENT doctor and facial plastics specialist Mark Weigel, MD, said. Rhinoplasties require avoiding contact sports or wearing glasses for a period of time. Adhering to postoperative instructions and following up with the surgeon is critical to obtaining a great result.

Finally, all surgery carries risks, no matter how small. You, your child, and your physician would need to discuss these potential risks before agreeing to any surgery.

While some teenagers will ultimately be candidates for facial plastic surgery, parental consent is always required before any patient under the age of 18 can undergo a procedure.

Choosing to have facial plastic surgery is a big decision, and CEENTA’s doctors are happy to talk with you and your child about whether now is the right time for this treatment.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. Would you like to make an appointment with Dr. Rao or Dr. Weigel? Call 704-295-3000. You can also request an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.


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