According to a recent study published by medical journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, poor mental wellbeing and low self-esteem are associated with poorer perceptions of nasal function.
The study was carried out by Erika Strazdins of the University of New South Wales, Australia and included 495 patients with breathing difficulties, who were either undergoing evaluation, considering rhinoplasty surgery or had previously undergone rhinoplasty surgery.
Questionnaires were carried out to define mental health status and assessment tools were used to collate information on self-reported nasal function. Nasal airflow function was validated in patients undergoing the surgery. While previous studies have yielded conflicting results regarding the psychological aspects of rhinoplasty, it seems clear that some psychological abnormalities (body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), anxiety, and depression) are overrepresented in patients undergoing rhinoplasty. However, until this recent study by Erika Strazdins, little was known about the relationship between mental disorders and perception of nasal function.
The results of the study suggested that those who had poorer perceptions of nasal function tended to have poor mental wellbeing and low self-esteem compared with patients who reported good mental health. Those patients with poor mental wellbeing perceived their nasal function as significantly worse in all patient-reported outcome measures, including sensation of nasal obstruction, severity of nasal obstruction symptoms, and nasal function anchor score, compared with patients who had healthy wellbeing.
Elise Bevan, a solicitor in the cosmetic surgery team at Penningtons Manches LLP, said: “The outcome of this study reinforces the importance of being aware of a patient’s mental wellness when evaluating them and planning their treatment. Patients who are complaining about poor nasal function despite having normal parameters on objective testing should be assessed carefully. In these situations, the surgeon should counsel the patient on the fact that the surgical outcomes may be less beneficial than they expect. This will help to inform them in their decision to proceed with surgery and ensure that they have realistic expectations of the outcome. We are frequently consulted by patients who have not been properly assessed or had their expectations managed before considering their suitability for surgery. This can result in unnecessary surgery which may then have a poor outcome for the patient.”