It always comes out high on the 'What Would You Change About Yourself' surveys that regularly appear in various magazines, but what makes a person finally decide they are going to have a 'nose job'?
It could be an unexpected windfall that finally gives you the cash you need to have the operation, a present to yourself when you reach a milestone birthday or – in preparation for an event where you know you just won’t be able to shy away from the camera… an event such as a wedding!
Mr Khurram Khan, a Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull, Birmingham West Midlands says that although he does get brides wanting a 'reshape' in preparation for their big day it is much more likely that it is the bride’s mother deciding 'now is the time to get my nose done'.
And with summer weddings fast approaching Mr Khan says he already has several mums preparing for surgery.
Here Mr Khan answers some of the questions about the kind of people who want their nose reshaping (rhinoplasty) and the options he can offer them.
Do women have rhinoplasty (nose surgery) more than men?
In my practice I would say yes, it is probably about two thirds women, to one third men.
If so is there a certain age group?
I would actually say that nose reshaping is more common in a younger age group. I would advise people to wait until at least 18 years of age before considering cosmetic nose surgery to allow bone growth to be complete but there is, in theory, no upper age limit.
What type of changes are most people are looking for?
Common changes include making the nose look straighter on side profile and slimmer on front profile. However, everyone is different and I am sometimes surprised at what I think may be the problem is actually very different to what the patient wants.
Do they come to you with a 'nose shape' in mind?
Yes this is often the case and I do encourage patients to bring in photographs of noses they like so that I have a better idea of what they would like to achieve.
If you think a patient has chosen the wrong shape do you offer guidance as to what could be done?
Yes I do as I think the most important thing with nose surgery is making sure patients have a realistic idea of what is actually possible.
There are lots of surgical techniques that can be used to change the shape of the nose however there are some things that are just not possible and this is due to individual differences between us. I would also say that it gets much harder to predict the final outcome the more times you have surgery on your nose. It is my job as a surgeon to make sure patients understand what can and cannot be achieved.
Have you ever been in a position where you have told a patient 'I’m sorry but that would be a mistake'?
Yes, I have but I would not call it a mistake. When considering nose reshaping surgery a surgeon has to take into account not only the nose itself but also the shape and size of the face.
All of these factors are important in coming to a decision. Sometimes the best decision is to not go ahead with surgery if it is not going to help or possibly even make things worse.
How often do you carry out rhinoplasty on men and is it something that is on the increase?
It is about a third of my patients. I think that society in general is becoming increasingly face and body conscious.
Are they similar in their ideas and expectations or do they have a different mind-set?
Yes and no! Everyone is different and as mentioned earlier the most important thing is getting the right balance between what a patient wants and what is actually possible.
Is everyone suitable for surgery?
It is very important to identify patients who may have a condition called body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) which does have a significant incidence amongst male rhinoplasty patients.
BDD is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance, and these flaws are often unnoticeable to others.
Surgery is not the best option in someone with BDD as it may not make any difference and could actually make them feel much worse.
How long does a 'routine' rhinoplasty take?
A ‘routine’ primary (ie the first time any surgery has been carried out) rhinoplasty probably takes between 2-3 hours.
And what about recovery times?
I typically tell patients to expect to be in hospital for one night after surgery, and then to come back to have dressings removed at one week. It will take a couple of weeks before you can get back to work in most cases. The majority of any swelling or bruising goes away within a few weeks. The skin and soft tissue of the nose will feel a bit woody and it takes up to a year for this to settle down.
What kind of feedback do you get from patients?
Overall it is very positive! Changing the shape of the nose can have a dramatic effect on appearance, profile, and confidence.