Bullying can have severe psychological effects on children, and can cause self-esteem issues, feelings of isolation, and other problems. Some types of plastic surgery are used to help prevent these problems, as children with obvious physical deformities tend to become targets for bullying, no matter what their age. Otoplasty, or ear surgery, for example, is often performed on young children with protruding or folded over ears before they start kindergarten. Children who suffer from port wine stains or other large birthmarks are also often treated at a young age. Because of this, it makes sense to assume that children with nasal deformities due to birth defects, genetics (“daddy’s nose”) or trauma should be able to have rhinoplasty (cosmetic nasal surgery) performed before bullying is possible. But is rhinoplasty a good idea for elementary and middle school children?
Maturation of the Nose
Unlike the ears, which mature at a very young age, around 4 or 5 years, the nose takes much longer to reach its final shape and size. Most plastic surgeons will not perform rhinoplasty on children younger than 15-16 for girls and 16-17 for boys. This is because if the nose is not finished growing, the results of the rhinoplasty could become compromised with additional nasal growth. While cosmetic rhinoplasty has been known to be performed on children as young as 13, it is highly discouraged and risky. Reputable facial plastic surgeons will not perform surgery on patients unless they feel it is safe and a good result is likely. So what does that mean for your child? Unfortunately, it means a wait.
Just because your child will not be able to undergo rhinoplasty until his or her teens does not mean you should close off the option in the future. You should leave the decision entirely up to your child once they are eligible to undergo the procedure. If you anticipate that you may be moving forward with the surgery in the future, it might be a good idea to start saving for rhinoplasty and learning as much as you can about the procedure.
Coping With Bullying
Unfortunately, because it is necessary to wait to allow younger children to have rhinoplasty surgery, bullying is a real possibility, and coping can be difficult. Pay close attention to your child’s cues, and if you notice signs that they may be struggling with social problems at school, do not brush it off. Your child may be reluctant to share information about bullying, so you will need to be sensitive in your efforts to communicate. Utilize your school’s resources, and be mindful of your child’s feelings and desires.
Choosing the Right Surgeon
If you have a teenager who is interested in undergoing rhinoplasty, there are several steps you need to take. First, you must ensure that your child has the emotional maturity to be making the decision and has realistic expectations about the procedure. Second, you will need to find a top-notch facial plastic surgeon in your area that both you and your teen trust. Rhinoplasty is a complex procedure that involves a number of different techniques, and you do not want to have to deal with complications or possible revision surgery.
When searching for a qualified surgeon, you should only consider board-certified plastic surgeons like Dr. Stuart Bentkover of Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery in Worcester (508-363-6500) or Stoneham (617-247-0033), MA. Dr. Bentkover has extensive experience working with patients of various demographics, having focused on rhinoplasty for over two decades. For more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bentkover, call either location today.