Are Nose Job Patients Normal?

All different types of people choose to undergo cosmetic surgery, but according to a controversial study, rhinoplasty (nose job) patients have one thing in common: none of them are "normal."

A team of researchers, in an attempt to determine the relationship between patient satisfaction and personality, made an interesting, if not contentious, discovery in the process. Using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, or MMPI, they evaluated 66 nose job candidates and a non-patient control group. While 40% of the control group rated as normal on the MMPI scale, none of the rhinoplasty patients did.

The patients exhibited a range of personality disorders, with 23% rating as obsessive and 20% qualifying as hypochondriacs. Those who were satisfied with their new noses were found to fall into the categories of depressed or "good faking" (stating untruths that make one's situation seem better).

There was also a strong correlation between being rated as antisocial or psychasthenic (having excessive or unreasonable doubts and fears) and being unhappy with results. This association has led the researchers to believe that these types of negative personality traits need to be identified before rhinoplasty and should potentially prevent it from going forward.

Ultimately, this approach should be true of any kind of cosmetic surgery. Unless you're electing a procedure with realistic expectations and stable emotional health, you may not be an appropriate candidate.

Do you think this study makes a valid point? Is it insulting? Tell us what you think by leaving a comment below.

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14 Comments
  • Posted on

    This one made me laugh, I haven't had a nose job yet, but I really want one, & all my friends call me a hypochondriac, & tell me im not normal & I agree with them, but I know this about myself & I just see it as me just being unique =)

  • Shel
    Posted on

    First of all, this is a study of only 66 people. What other attributes do they have in common that may result in si ilar behavior. Secondy, didn't they do other studies that claim atastic surgery is a self esteem booster. Lastly, why not do the same study on patients who had breast enhancements. This is just a "study".

  • Michael Schwartz
    Posted on

    Like any study or survey the results have to be viewed "in context" which is lacking in this post. Most facial plastic procedures are about looking the same but more youthful or rejuvenated. Patients want their "old" face, not a new one. Rhinoplasty changes your face. If the patient has been bothered by their nose and wants to see a new and enhanced version of themselves they will be happy. If they start out thinking that the problem is that they don't look like some other person/celebrity and think they will after or think that after they get their new face they will have automatic social or professional success they are going to have a problem no matter how technically perfect the result was. They are going to be more "crazy" because now they have to deal with a "new" face, but not the one they secretly thought it would be. This is where I find computer imaging prior to the procedure most helpful. Patients need to see that the new face will

  • Jesse Smith Anonymous
    Posted on

    Thanks all who have participated in the the comments. Everyone has made interesting observations. There have several studies done on this very topic and about patients who present for plastic surgery procedures in general. One study showed that 15-20% of patients that present for plastic surgery procedures have a DSM IV classifiable personality disorder. This is seemingly higher than the general population. Many plastic surgery patients illustrate strong traits toward mental disorders, but fall short of true criteria for diagnosis. It's up to the physician to conduct a thorough history, physical exam, and consultation in order to discern if a patient is a good candidate for any procedure. The healing process with any procedure can be long, and some studies quote minor revisions after rhinoplasty in the range of 20%. A patient must be mentally and physically prepared to handle such post procedure difficulties. Rhinoplasty are usually not performed until after the last growth spurt.

  • Emily
    Posted on

    Although it's true that studies prove correlation and not causation, I think it's not saying that people are "abnormal" because they get nose jobs, but perhaps suggesting the opposite. And when I say abnormal, I don't say it offensively in any manner. People who are depressed are more likely to have low self-esteem, which of course includes looks. So it makes sense that people with mental disorders that effect self-esteem would want plastic surgery; they obviously don't feel good about how they look. Ultimately, this study could lead research in a different direction, going towards seeing 1) How many suffering from mental illness have plastic surgery, and 2) how many of these people want, but don't get, plastic surgery.

  • Posted on

    Hi Gina. This study was published in 2007—not 1979—in the medical journal Otolaryngology. I'm not sure where you found that information. Ultimately, study results, controversial or otherwise, shouldn't be perceived as a hard-and-fast rule without plenty of other research to confirm the findings. This, like lots of studies you hear about in the news, is merely a thought-provoking study that, while legitimate, would probably face plenty of challenges if repeated by a different team of medical researchers.

  • Posted on

    The study you are referring to was done in 1979! Don't you think the attitudes toward nose jobs has changed a little?

  • Jen
    Posted on

    Maybe the years of torture and teasing as a result of having a misshapen/oversized nose does something to the psyche. Having a deformity isn't "normaal" so if they want to call rhinoplasty patients "abnormal", that's fine. Just explain that we're abnormal BECAUSE of a physical deformity, not because we're crazy. Overweight people have mental issues too... because they're overweight, not because they're "abnormal"

  • Veronica K
    Posted on

    After having spent my pre-30's with an Aztec hump on my mexican-american nose, I was never comforatable with my profile.I had researched all of the pros and cons of rhinoplasty, including the possible negitive side effects of changing my professional singing voice. After a horrific domestic attack from my ex-husband, the bridge of my nose snapped in two places. I was never more ashamed of my looks or my life choices, as I was after that day. I finally had turbo, sypto, rhino surgery. After the splints were removed and the black eyes were gone, I was elated by the outcome. I was now fitted with a nose that fit my face, and the only people who could tell and were more pleased by the outcome, were my family. Perhaps I am the exception, but I am normal, happy and very self confident. Choosing to undergo the surgery was difficult, but the best self mutilating choice I could have made.

  • anonymous
    Posted on

    I had a nosejob when I was a teen, and I'm not offended at all. Notice that most of the non-nosejob patients didn't qualify as "normal" either?

  • Lacey
    Posted on

    This is incredibly interesting! I wonder if this kind of analysis can apply to plastic surgery across the board.

  • odd
    Posted on

    I think Nina's comments don't make sense. Someone who is celebrating the benefits of plastic surgery should not critique other operations (breast aug) simply because they achieve a different look. If you're fortunate enough to have had a good operation and result, be glad. If another patient is self conscious about a different anatomic region (that Nina may or may not relate to) or else seeks a different outcome, assuming they also are good candidates for the operation at stake then more power to them, right? Neither patient has a psych problem just because some instrument found them out of the range. Mabye the range should be changed for rhino patients. It's not the instrument that should diagnose, that's the doc's responsibility.

  • Jayme
    Posted on

    I think a study is just that, a study and shows correlation, not causation. That being said i am insulted that they essenatialy lumped in those who had a nose job and enjoyed the results of it with just being liars. I suffer from an anxiety disorder (related to when i get sick) and i suffer from from depression due to hormonal imbalance. Neither of these led me to getting a nose job. I had wanted a nose job because i could not get enough oxeygen through my nostrils due to the lack of cartilage in the nostrils. I also think that there pool of random participants may of been a little biased in some way. in america the 1 in 4 americans suffer from some form of mental illness, and i would assume that the percentage of those getting nose jobs who suffer from depression would be the same. (or if it is higher it would be statisticly insignificant)

  • Posted on

    I think having an larger than average nose can make one feel like they are not accepted socially, and teasing or rejection can affect your desire to meet new people and put yourself in the spotlight so I think these rhinoplasty canidates should have it done sooner rather than later to prevent them from further erosion to their self-esteem. If they do it at 12 instead of 20, they will emerge adolescence much more confident. I only feel this way about this particular surgery. I don't think young girls should get breast implants or any other surgery that has to do with their sex appeal. I'd like to know how pyschologically healthy woman who feel they have to do this are? How much more likely to be divorced because they have relationships with men who are just looking for a living Barbie ?

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