Is this nose for real?

23 January 2012

Noses come in many shapes and sizes, but when we look at celebrity noses, one thing is striking: they all look perfect! (Well, almost all...).

Although there are people who are naturally blessed with a flawless centerpiece for their faces, such a large collection of them in Hollywood makes you think of something other than just divine intervention. And most celebs don't deny it — nose jobs are the IT thing in showbiz!


Did You Know?
the correct term for nose jobs is "rhinoplasty", which is a combination of 2 Greek words: "rhinos" meaning "nose" and "plastikos" meaning "changing form".

How can a nose be altered? What defines a "perfect" nose? Are there any problems that you might run into after a nose job? To get a good answer to these questions, let's look at what makes up a nose first.

Noses are made up of 3 types of materials: bone, cartilage and soft tissue. The bone part of the top of the nose is called the "bony vault" and it's the part that can give your nose a "hump" and also the part that breaks in the broken nose scenario.

The lower 2/3 of the nose and the central dividing wall in the nose (called the septum) are made up of cartilage. The cartilage is a special kind of material that is soft and rubbery and can be used to make up structures that have a defined shape, and yet are pliable.

Cartilage is a material that is made up of 2 types of proteins: collagen (the main protein) and proteoglycans (they make it possible to squeeze cartilage) and of long chains of different kinds of sugars (called glucosaminoglycans) that link the proteins to each other. The cells that make cartilage are called chondrocytes.

Did You Know?
The bones of the nose break more often than any other bone in the face. When they break, the lining of the nose usually tears, resulting in a nosebleed. A medical term for a nosebleed is epistaxis. The last kind of material in the nose, the soft tissue, is basically the soft layer underneath the skin that drapes over the bony and the cartilaginous parts of the nose. It determines that shape of the tip of the nose. Nose jobs can involve alterations in any and all of these parts, depending on what the person is unhappy with.

The pursuit of a perfect nose is never the same — some might aim for the canonical beauty, others (among them Britney Spears) might want a slight variation of their somewhat imperfect "signature" noses. Keeping a "signature" nose intact may be crucial: Jennifer Grey from "Dirty Dancing" ruined her career by changing her nose so much that her whole face became unrecognizable.


Did You Know?
Norma Jean Baker was turned into Marilyn Monroe with the help of rhinoplasty — her nose was made less bulbous and more delicate and feminine. So what about Jennifer Aniston's claim that she didn't really have a nose job, but just had a surgery to correct her deviated septum? It can in fact be true! A deviated septum correction is often combined with a more extensive nose job, since the surgeon wants to make sure that correcting the septum will not mess up the whole appearance of the nose! A real 2-for-1 deal in plastic surgery!

Nose jobs are fairly safe, though some complications (like infection and too much bleeding) occasionally happen. And like after any surgery, recovering may be painful and uncomfortable.

Clearly too many nose jobs can leave you without a nose, if all of the bony tissue and the cartilage have been cut away — neither of them can grow back. Just look at Michael Jackson, who allegedly had to have cartilage from his ears taken to restore his nose that was collapsing after one too many surgeries.

Learn More!

Wikipedia on rhinoplasty

Wikipedia on cartilage

Merck on Deviated septum

Merck on Nose and sinuses

Inna is an MD/PhD student at the University of British Columbia, completing her research in infectious diseases. In her free time she likes to read good books, eat delicious food and enjoy beautiful scenery.


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