Early non-invasive (non-surgical) treatments delay the onset of irreversible, age-related changes that require surgical correction.
As a rule, patients should be 18 years of age or older, but exceptions do exist. In some instances patients younger then 18 will be considered for treatment after paediatric, psychiatric and psychological assessments supporting such a course of action. The key point is patients should have an emotional maturity to make significant health decisions and physical maturity, having stopped growing.
In considering the age appropriateness for treatment, it is easiest to break the list up into surgical and non-surgical categories.
Rhinoplasty: Await completion nasal growth (end of puberty but 18 year old is usually safe), unless the indication for surgery is functional such as after nasal fracture.
Otoplasty (correction of prominent ears): from 5 years of age onwards, as most ear growth is complete by then. This timing also coincides with performing surgery prior to school playground teasing and the development of self-consciousness about one’s appearance.
Labioplasty (labial reduction): 18 years old unless extraordinary circumstances, such as functional problems or severe psychological impact. The latter requires education as to the vast array of normal appearances.
Genioplasty (chin augmentation/reduction): for the correction of a recessive or an excessively protruding chin. It is important to await the completion of facial bony growth, as with rhinoplasty.
Breast augmentation: 18 years of age, although exceptions exist. An important point for the patient to grasp is that breast implants have a finite lifespan and so will almost undoubtedly require replacement at some point in the patient’s life.
Breast reduction: once again, 18 years of age unless a specific medical indication exists, such as juvenile hypertrophy (early age massive breast enlargement). Younger patients need to consider the potential adverse effect of the surgery on ability to breast-feed and nipple sensation.
Liposuction: 18 years of age unless a specific medical indication exists, such as lipodystrophy where there is an abnormal, excessive fat accumulation in localised areas.
Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck): 18 years of age and having achieved a stable body weight. An important consideration from women is future pregnancy and the adverse effect this will have on a tummy tuck. If patients are planning a family they should defer their abdominoplasty until after having had all their children. If a woman has already had the procedure she can still safely fall pregnant but may need to have the operation again after the birth of her last child.
Body lift: performed on patients after massive weight loss. The same considerations apply as for abdominoplasty.
Botox and fillers: 18 years of age for cosmetic treatments, although they are rarely indicated until patients are in their 30’s or 40’s. Both Botox and fillers are used in a non-cosmetic setting, for functional reasons, and can be safely administered to patients aged younger than 18 years.
Laser and chemical peels: rarely indicated for patients aged younger than 18 years old, although medical lasers are used in younger patients for the treatment of vascular anomalies (birth marks).
Dermabrasion: patients 18 years and older but better suited to the middle aged.
Cosmeceuticals: 18 years and older, but prevention is better than cure. Vitamin A (retinols) should not be used in patients trying to fall pregnant due to potential risks to the unborn baby.
Sun protection: should always be practiced, for, once again, prevention is better than cure. Not only is UV sunlight very aging for the skin, it also causes skin cancers.
A healthy, balanced diet and exercise: conveys not only inner health benefits but also staves off the early signs of aging.