How are Nasal Function after Rhinoplasty and Mental Health Connected?


Recent studies link mental health and cosmetic surgery. The literature on both subjects have flourished, and that those undergoing cosmetic surgery could also have or are diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).

It is alarming to note that there could be undiagnosed cases of BDD and physicians may need to take necessary measures. As such, it appears many researchers have taken notice of the mental health perspective for those undergoing cosmetic procedures.

In the JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery Article, mental health and nasal function was examined (Strazdins, 2017). It seems nasal function is an overlooked characteristic, as many studies have only focused on the quality of life and patient satisfaction of the nose itself pre- and post-surgery. The researchers found patients who have low self-esteem and mental being perceived nasal function low. Thus, it is also crucial to conduct a post-operative screening such as dissatisfaction (Zojaji et al. 2007), as well.

For the researchers to determine figures, they used five tools. The Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for both the left and right side of the nose, a Nasal Obstruction Symptom Evaluation (NOSE), Sinonasal Outcome Test (SNOT22), and a Likert test were conducted.


  • Around 49% of patients with poor well-being rated poor or worse on their nasal function
  • All fourteen (14) patients with low self-esteem scores also rated having poor or worse nasal function

Other studies about rhinoplasty relating to mental health find that most that undergo the procedure have an obsessive personality (Zojaji et al., 2007; Zojaji et al., 2014). In another study, by Zahiroddin et al. (2007) also found that those who underwent rhinoplasty have poor well-being, but also mentioned that the results from their study should not be taken as representative of those who have underwent rhinoplasty or will undergo the procedure.

The Quality of Life (QOL) is a determining measure for cosmetic surgeries, and it is suggested that those healthy mentally with better self-image and self-esteem had better quality of life, while those with BDD have poor quality of life (Philips, 2000). In one study, quality of life was higher prior to rhinoplasty as opposed to post-surgery (Mohammadshahi, 2014).

Researchers acknowledge that studies regarding mental health and cosmetic surgery are conflicting. It appears so as there are many research works regarding rhinoplasty and mental health and results seem to lead in varying perspective. In the end, physicians and other health providers must ensure proper treatment of patients prior to any cosmetic procedure.

“Clinicians should be aware that patients with poor mental health reporting obstructed airflow may in part be representing an extension of their negative emotions rather than true obstruction and may require further assessment prior to surgery,” the JAMA article concludes.