Rhinoplasty at Every Age: How Nose Jobs Differ at 16 and 61

Chicago women learning why rhinoplasty is good for any age.

When is the best time to get rhinoplasty (or a “nose job”)? As plastic surgeons in Chicago, Dr. Thomas Mustoe and Dr. Sammy Sinno hear this question often. People of all ages are often curious about whether they’re old enough to make changes to their nose or whether it’s too late for them to make the changes they’ve thought about all their lives.

Fortunately, there are few age limits when it comes to rhinoplasty. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how rhinoplasty changes for people of different ages, why it’s an underrated anti-aging procedure, and what to know as you decide if the surgery is right for you.

What Is the Best Age To Get a Rhinoplasty?

The most popular age for rhinoplasty is between 20 and 29. In 2020, 31% of all rhinoplasties were performed on people in this age range, according to an American Society of Plastic Surgeons report. The surgery is also the most popular cosmetic procedure for people under 19.

However, the “best” age to get a rhinoplasty is different for each person. Some people are ready as early as 13. (Learn more about rhinoplasty for teens in this blog post.) Others wait until later in life to make cosmetic changes. While there are benefits with each of these timelines, the best time for your rhinoplasty is ultimately whenever you are ready.


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What Are the Benefits of Getting a Rhinoplasty at a Young Age?

Our noses are central to our identities. Some even call the nose the “fingerprint of the face.” The older we get, the more familiar we and the people around us get with the way we look, nose included. The longer we wait to make a change, the more noticeable and jarring it’s likely to be.

Getting a rhinoplasty early on gives you as much time as possible to enjoy your ideal nose and the way it reflects your identity. With the majority of your life ahead of you, most of the new people you meet will get to know the version of you that you feel most confident about—the version of you that isn’t brought down by a nose you don’t love.

Young people also typically recover from surgery more quickly, although our quick recovery approach makes recuperating as easy and rapid as possible for people of any age.

If I Get a Rhinoplasty When I’m Young, Will My Nose Change as I Get Older?

Rhinoplasty results hold up very well over time. Once all remaining swelling has subsided (usually within a year after surgery), your results will be stable and should look the same for many years.

Of course, no surgery can stop the aging process altogether, and your nose may experience some natural changes as you get older. As the cartilage and soft tissues supporting your nose weaken over time, you may notice a bit of widening or drooping. These changes are more noticeable in some people than others, but whether or not you have had a rhinoplasty shouldn’t affect how soon these changes happen or how drastic they are.


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Is There Such a Thing as Being Too Old for a Rhinoplasty?

As long as you are healthy enough to undergo surgery safely, you are not too old for rhinoplasty. In fact, it’s almost never too late for rhinoplasty. Whether you have recently realized you would like to refine your nose or you’re finally ready to make a change you’ve been considering for years, you can make it happen at just about any age.

Keep in mind that making dramatic changes to your nose may have some emotional effects now that you’ve spent a lifetime getting familiar with your face. While this shouldn’t necessarily stop you from making those changes, it is an important possibility to be aware of.

Dr. Mustoe and Dr. Sinno use VECTRA® 3-D imaging during consultations to predict what your results will look like so you can envision them before you decide on surgery. This helps you and the doctors make sure you’re completely happy with your choice when you see your new nose in the mirror for the first time.

Learn more about why you’re likely not too old for rhinoplasty in this blog post.

Can a Rhinoplasty Make Me Look Younger?

Most people don’t think of rhinoplasty as an anti-aging procedure, but it does have some anti-aging effects, especially for women. In a UCLA study, artificial intelligence guessed female rhinoplasty patients were up to 3 years younger after rhinoplasty than they looked before the surgery.

Why was this the case? Lifting and reshaping the nose typically makes it appear smaller and more highly situated on the face. These changes offset the drooping, widening, and increased prominence of the nose that often develops during the aging process.

While facelifts, neck lifts, eyelid surgery, and brow lifts are the go-to anti-aging procedures in most cases, it may be worth considering rhinoplasty as well if you’re unhappy with the changes you’ve noticed in your nose over the years.


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How Are Rhinoplasties Performed Differently for Older vs. Younger People?

Rhinoplasties are performed in essentially the same way for younger and older people, but they often focus on different things.

Rhinoplasty for younger people often involves:

  • Reducing nasal humps
  • Narrowing or straightening the nasal bridge
  • Correcting asymmetry
  • Shortening an overly long nose

Rhinoplasty for older people typically involves:

  • Lifting a drooping tip
  • Narrowing a bulbous tip
  • Decreasing the size of the nose
  • Correcting breathing issues caused by weakening cartilage

In all cases, Dr. Mustoe and Dr. Sinno focus on creating “transparent” results—results that elevate your natural look without appearing artificial or leaving behind any obvious signs of surgery.

To see what is possible at any age with rhinoplasty, please visit Dr. Mustoe’s before-and-after photo gallery and Dr. Sinno’s before-and-after photo gallery.

If you have any questions about rhinoplasty, from deciding on surgery to finding the best rhinoplasty surgeon in Chicago, please contact us online or call (312) 788-2560.

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