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Am I Too Old for a Nose Job?

Recently, a topic of public interest has been kids getting plastic surgery. I have commented on pediatric rhinoplasty in past blogs and recently gave an interview discussing plastic surgery for kids. However, a less common question has been can one be too old for a rhinoplasty procedure? It makes sense that many cosmetic and other elective surgeries are done when we’re younger, so that we can improve our self confidence or quality of lift. Some may assume once you got too old, then you can’t have any surgery. The short answer if you’re wondering if you’re too old for a nose job is no….if certain criteria are met.

Average Age of Rhinoplasty Patient

In my experience, most people seeing a rhinoplasty are between young and middle adulthood (ie 20 to 50’s). Occasionally, a teenager will be serious enough to get a nose job, and if they meet criteria, a rhinoplasty is very safe. Also less common are the much older patients. If you are in your 60’s or older, you may wonder if you can still have a rhinoplasty.

As we age, our nose does start to change. A common complaint is “my nose looks longer.” Your nose hasn’t grown in size, but it has lost its tip support. When this happens, your nose will start to droop down. This loss in rotation gives the “appearance” of a longer nose. If this change bothers you, and you are still quite active, then a nose job is a very good option. Another common change as we age is risk of increased nasal obstruction.

This not only can be a nuisance, but may also impact your quality of sleep. Some patients who have sleep apnea may have worsened ability to tolerate their CPAP machine. Improving their nasal breathing is a very important treatment to allow them to use their CPAP machine, which is critical to their health and reducing the risk of developing cardiac and lung problems.

Nasal obstruction can be due to many factors, and you should see a San Antonio board certified facial plastic surgeon to determine the cause and treatment options. If you don’t have any cosmetic concerns, many otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat) can also help. While there are many reasons to explain your obstruction, one often overlooked cause may be a droopy nasal tip.

The droopy tip will alter the air flow into your nose and create airflow that is suboptimal. The result is you feel like you’re stuffy. Sometimes, simply rotating the tip up will improve your nasal airflow, AND improve your nasal appearance.

Rhinoplasty for the Elderly

The actual technical steps of performing a rhinoplasty in the elderly is pretty much the same as in other patients. But there are some important factors that relate to surgery in the elderly. One, the nasal bones are more brittle than the young. If osteotomies (cutting the bones) must be performed, these must be done carefully. Or avoided if possible.

Another difference is your skin elasticity is less than when you were younger. This results in less ability to redrape the nasal skin over the nasal structures. If you want improvement of your nasal tip appearance, you have to be prepared for potentially less significant change.

Another factor to keep in mind when you are seeking changes to your nose. It is not recommended to attempt a drastic change to your nasal appearance. You’ve lived with your nose for so long. Even though you may have been unhappy with your nose, there have been reports that many old patients unexpectedly develop significant depression because they weren’t prepared to see the drastically different nose actually on their face.

In my opinion, I believe lifting your tip up and subtle improvements to your nose are reasonable goals. Overall, your nose will look better on your face, and you still look like you.

Finally, even if you have realistic goals and you are prepared for the recovery, you must realize that a nose job is an elective surgery. That means, the bottom line, you must in good enough health to tolerate a potentially long case. You will be even more stuffy after surgery and you have to be able to handle the week of congestion and discomfort.

If you have other health problems (like heart, lung, significant neurologic problems, or mental impairment), it may be too risky to undergo a nose job. The best thing is to consult with a board certified facial plastic surgeon with experience doing rhinoplasties.

For more information about rhinoplasty in San Antonio, schedule a consultation with  Dr. Kenneth Yu Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery  or contact our Concierge Patient Coordinator at (210) 876-6868.