Confidence in one’s appearance is critical to developing a positive self-image and a healthy sense of self. As we move through life, strong self-esteem often contributes significantly to one’s success. However, for those who lack self-confidence, life’s doors may not open as quickly or as often.
Throughout the teenage years, our faces go through a transformation due to normal growth and development. It is during this time that our most prominent facial feature, the nose, morphs into its adult shape. As our faces develop, aesthetic differences are magnified compared to when we were younger. It is often during these formative years that one’s nasal appearance becomes an issue. It is not uncommon for a young man or young woman to get very self-conscious about their appearance and if a feature as prominent as the nose is the source of their discontent, over time, their self-confidence can be negatively impacted. Additionally, as the nose grows, nasal-breathing problems may develop. In this case, it may not be just the appearance that is troublesome, but the actual function of the nose itself. In either case, the nose becomes a source of negative attention for the individual and in some cases may even develop into a true preoccupation, which is neither healthy nor productive.
Fortunately, today’s modern nasal surgery techniques often permit complete correction of both aesthetic and functional issues during the same procedure. However, aesthetic nasal surgery, also known as rhinoplasty, is often referred to as the most challenging of all cosmetic surgery procedures and therefore, the expertise of the surgeon is critical to obtaining consistently excellent outcomes. Of course, the patient’s initial nasal problems and the patient’s ability to heal well are also important factors when determining final outcome, but the importance of the training, skill and experience of the nasal surgeon can not be overstated. Plastic surgery in general is a unique art form. Aesthetic nasal surgery highlights this particularly well.
If you are unhappy enough with your nasal appearance or are troubled by nasal breathing, you may wish to explore surgical correction. It is important to recognize that before surgery can be recommended, the nose must have stopped growing. For most young women, this occurs around age 15 or 16 and for young men between ages 16-18. Therefore, in most cases, unless the nose is severely disfigured, one should wait until the nose is fully developed before pursuing surgical advice.
Personally, I try to respect the ethnicity of the face and aesthetically enhance the nose in that context. Creating a natural, un-operated appearance is the goal of most rhinoplasty surgeons today. Achieving that goal consistently requires both talent and experience. Choose your nasal surgeon carefully.
Seth A. Yellin, MD, FACS
Director, Marietta Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics Center
Fellow, American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
Board Certified, American Board of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery