Teen-agers and plastic surgery
By KELLY-JANE COTTER
Home News staff writer
Ever since he could remember, Adam Greenspan was self-conscious about his nose.
“I didn’t like the way my nose looked,” the 19-year-old East Brunswick resident said. “My feelings built up more and more as I got older. I wouldn’t let people see my profile.”
Even though their son had resented his large nose for years, Greenspan’s parents were a bit taken aback when he announced his intention to undergo rhinoplasty – more commonly known as a nose job.
“My parents kind of laughed at first. They were really surprised,” he said, adding that other people told him to leave his nose alone.
“They said, ‘Don’t get a nose job. It gives you character, personality,”‘ Greenspan said. “I thought, ‘It does not! It’s just a nose.”‘
Greenspan felt fairly sure that his character and personality were somewhat more than nose-deep, so he went ahead with his plans. Using his computer, he sketched his face and drew in a new and improved nose. He then brought the print-out to Dr. Alvin I. Glasgold, a Highland Park-based facial plastic surgeon, who suggested a few modifications.
Statistically, Greenspan differed from most plastic surgery patients. For one thing, he was a guy – it’s mostly women who go under the knife for aesthetic reasons. Secondly, Greenspan agreed to have the whole experience – before, during and after – filmed by a TV crew from the NBC morning show, “Today.” The episode has not yet been broadcast.
It takes a lot of guts to have cameras breathing down your nose, as it were. But Greenspan wasn’t bothered by the attention. He was confident about his self-image – it was just his nose he didn’t like.
“I’m a little more confident than I was before the operation,” he said. “And now I don’t care what angle people see me at.”
According to Glasgold and other medical authorities, plastic surgery can have a positive effect on a teen-ager’s self-esteem – as long as the teen-ager isn’t trying to make scapegoats of a large nose or a receding chin.
Glasgold said he evaluates a potential patient for physical and psychological maturity before agreeing to perform plastic surgery.
“Generally I want someone who has stopped growing; someone who’s spent a lot of time looking in the mirror deciding what they want to change,” Glasgold said. “It’s a very individual thing. Generally, I operate only on girls 14 and up, though I will occasion-ally do a 13-year-old, and boys who are 15 and up, because they have a growth spurt later than girls.”
Greenspan recalled feeling “sad and cold” when he woke up after his nose job.
“1 woke up sad, thinking that I had done this. And I was all cold and my throat hurt because of the tube they had stuck down it,” Greenspan said. “But once I saw my new nose, I immediately started to feel better. After that, I cut my hair and I really looked like a different person.”
Not only did Greenspan undergo rhinoplasty, but mentoplasty as well. Mentoplasty is a chin implant – a procedure that often goes hand-in-hand with rhinoplasty.
“Many times, the problem is more a receding chin than a protruding nose,” Glasgold said.
In the doctor’s summary of Greenspan’s condition, Glasgold wrote, “Adam had a moderately retarding chin which markedly exaggerated the nasal projection. His correction involved reducing the projection of the nose as well as augmenting the chin, which produced appropriate balance between the nose and chin.”
Rhinoplasty or a combination of rhinoplasty and mentoplasty are by far the most common procedures requested by teen-agers, Glasgold said. Cheek implants, which give a flat or elongated face more of a shape, are becoming popular, he said.
Adam Greenspan before surgery
Adam Greenspan after surgery