Technically speaking, there is no age limit for having cosmetic nose surgery. However, with the onset of middle age and beyond, surgeons are then faced with an increasing set of challenges which can affect the long-term cosmetic results for the patient.
Surgeons have been known to perform cosmetic nose surgery on patients as young as 15 for girls and 16 for boys. This the tender age when the nose has finally reached its peak growth phase and cosmetic nose surgery then becomes a viable option to correct one or more inherent flaws.
Many patients choose to have cosmetic surgery done in their 40s and 50s, before there are any really significant changes in the appearance and basic nose structure resulting from normal aging. These patients are generally satisfied with the rejuvenating effect of cosmetic nose surgery and in many cases it is the fulfillment of a decades-long personal life-enhancing dream.
But when the patient has reached the age of 60 and beyond, physiological changes in the nose demand a thorough evaluation of the patient’s health by the performing surgeon. Any underlying health concerns must be considered as well as the chances for achieving a favorable cosmetic result.
The surgeon will be concerned with a variety of pre-operative issues. For example, is the patient able to tolerate the anesthesia? What is the quality of the patient’s facial skin, nasal cartilage and bone structure? Is there a severe nasal droop or significant changes in the nasal dorsum and nasal airways?
Years of exposure to the sun may have caused dramatic skin changes as well, affecting skin quality. The skin also grows thinner with age and there is less and less collagen and elastin produced in the body to give the facial skin its natural fullness and volume. As a result, older patients bruise more easily and healing takes longer to complete. There may be an increased risk of bleeding and scarring as well.
The qualified surgeon will weigh the patient’s realistic goals and expectations against the physical reality. Only then will the doctor decide if cosmetic nose surgery is right for the patient. When the patient and doctor both come to terms with the facts and a safe and effective surgical game plan is in the offing, everyone can be happy in the end.
Dr. Philip Miller is a board certified facial plastic surgeon with offices located at 60 East 56th, Third Floor, New York, N.Y. Call (212) 750-7100 for a personal consultation.