By Dr. Brian Machida, MD, FACS with Larry Rondeau
Research confirms what many have noticed: Good-looking people enjoy a lot of advantages. One recent study found that those whose attractiveness was rated lower than average were also considered less intelligent, competent and socially adept. The consequences of this can really hurt.
The nose is the face’s most prominent feature. During their school days, many whose noses are less than perfect faced embarrassing comments, name-calling and even bullying. They may still feel self-conscious. As a doctor who’s board-certified in both Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose and Throat) and Facial Plastic Surgery, I’ve performed a lot of rhinoplasty procedures (“nose jobs”) over they years.
Many people believe that improving their noses will improve their lives. Is this really true?
Does getting a more attractive nose boost self-esteem?
Many patients who realistically assessed their nose as too large, too small or misshapen find that improving their noses has increased their self-esteem. A British study, for instance, looked at rhinoplasty patients and found that:
Surgical intervention had strong effects in improving self-esteem ratings.
A review of studies published in the US National Library of Medicine revealed that repeated surveys found that 88-90% of patients reported their satisfaction and a higher quality of life after rhinoplasty. It stated:
“Most of the patients benefit from rhinoplasty regardless of the motivation for surgery. These effects continue to exist even 5 years after the operation. Another study confirmed these results and highlighted that the patients felt to be better accepted in social relationships.”
When a person feels that they look better, and especially when they receive complements from friends, family and workmates, they naturally feel a boost in both self-esteem and self-confidence. This can really improve their lives.
Whose lives will not improve with a better nose?
An important key to successful rhinoplasty procedures is the patient’s reasonable expectations. Plastic surgeons that are highly experienced in this procedure can provide excellent results. As we noted earlier, studies find that the vast majority are satisfied with their new noses.
But one group is often dissatisfied, no matter how good a job their surgeon does. These are often people with severe Body Dysmorphic Disorder (B.D.D.). The New York Times interviewed University of Pennsylvania psychology professor David Sarwer. The article states:
Almost all of us will get up in the morning and look in the mirror and see something in our appearance we may not like or wish looked different,’’ said Dr. Sarwer. “But for patients with B.D.D., that thought never leaves their mind. They are chronically thinking about their nose, checking in the mirror or a reflective surface, or they avoid situations where people can see their profile. You can see that is a distraction and can make it hard to focus on jobs or studies or family.’
Those with severe B.D.D. are never satisfied with their appearance. They would not make good rhinoplasty candidates. However, a study published in the Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery found that rhinoplasty benefited 90% of patients with mild to moderate B.D.D. They were satisfied with their results and 81% of the 31 patients tested were no longer unduly concerned with their appearance.
What is a rhinoplasty procedure like? If you decide to have one, your surgeon will make an incision hidden inside your nose. Then he will reshape the nasal bone and cartilage according to your needs and goals.
A nasal tip that turns downward often makes a nasal bump look bigger. In these cases, an experienced plastic surgeon will modify the tip of the nose to reduce downward droop. This balances the size of the nasal bump and will reduce the amount of reduction needed at the bridge of the nose to achieve a more attractive appearance.
If the bridge needs to be built up to achieve the desired look, your surgeon will graft in cartilage or place an implant. Finally, he will redrape the tissues over the improved nasal frame and close the incisions. Then he’ll put a small plastic splint in place on the outside of the nose to minimize swelling and maintain the new shape during healing. He may place temporary packs inside your nose for a day or two. Recovery normally takes a week to 10 days.
Could you benefit from a better nose?
While rhinoplasty doesn’t satisfy every patient, years of surveys and studies make it clear that a strong majority are happy with their results. And since economists find that more attractive people are more readily hired, get better salary reviews and make more money, you may well find that the benefit to your looks and self-confidence is accompanied by an increase in your income.
Would a “nose job” really improve your looks and your life? Why not consult with an experienced plastic or facial plastic surgeon and find out the facts for yourself.