Rhinoplasty or 'Plastic Surgery of the Nose' goes back to Cleopatra's Time.

The nose was the first field for nasal 'plastic' or 'corrective' surgery and accounts of this goes back many centuries to Cleopatra's time. Cleopatra was famous for her beauty and was no doubt what we would today call a celebrity.


The first recorded surgery to the nose was the use of pressure dressings applied to the nose during surgery which is reported in hieroglyphics recorded in the Edwin Smyth Surgical Papyrus. The exact origin of reconstructive surgery of the nose is obscure, but India had many subjects for nose replacement because a form of punishment of cutting off the nose for ‘crimes’ such as infidelity was practiced there. The method for correcting this deformity in India was by using a direct forehead flap. The Italian method of nose replacement consisted of a tubed flap from the upper arm. This method was described by Gasparo Tagliacozzi in 1597.


Modern corrective or reconstructive rhinoplasty was mainly developed and described by Dr. Jacques Joseph of Berlin after World War 1. Many of his procedures are still basic ones even today, and some of his surgical instrument designs are still in use.

Since the time of Dr. Jacques Joseph there have been many eminent surgeons, (especially in the USA), scholars and students who have added greatly to the development of corrective plastic surgery of the nose.


Since the first attempts to beautify the nose, in primitive cultures until today, the nose has been the focus of adornment and various attempts to change its shape in order to make it more attractive. Since Joseph Jacque's corrective rhinoplasty until modern times, celebrities and women (especially in the USA) who could afford it, have undergone surgery to correct nose imperfections. Today women and men all over the world have concluded that a well shaped nose and a refined nose tip makes them look younger and more attractive.



The Nose is the most Prominent Feature on the Human Face and it Determines the Beauty of the Face.

The nose is often the subject of ridicule (especially at school) if it is overly enlarged, hooked, prominent or with a large hump. Rhinoplasty and cosmetic reconstruction is common today in order to repair sport and war injuries to the nose, but people with even minimal imperfections are more than ever before concerned with their appearance and they seek surgical improvement and correction of imperfections. This is understandable because humans have probably always (since primitive man observed his reflection in a pool of water) sought to improve their appearance. Primitive tribes used adornment, colour and even disfigurement of their noses, lips and ears to make themselves more attractive, probably to the opposite sex. Symmetrical human faces are attractive and a well shaped, proportional nose defines the beauty of the human face.



Facial and Nasal Beauty

Facial beauty is not just the result of a single factor, but many factors working together in harmony, such as-

  • genetic make up,
  • facial bone structure,
  • nose shape and size,
  • relationship to the eyes
  • proportions,
  • angles,
  • age,
  • skin color,
  • skin type and texture,
  • illusion,
  • ethnicity,
  • personality!

The human face presents a tremendous number of variable proportions and in describing the face or nose shape of a woman or man, that most individuals of their particular ethnicity would find attractive, is very difficult. Leonardo da Vinci's proportions of the face emphasised the Golden Ratio which many artists accept to be the foundation of facial beauty. That is the European foundation of beauty that has been generally accepted but the European standard of beauty is today a debatable standard of beauty. Other races and ethnicities have a very different idea of facial beauty and NosePlasty Clinic surgeons are very aware of this and take this into account before advising nose shape changes. See Ethnic rhinoplasty


  • Underlying structural shape variation across populations also exists, and differences of nose and face shape across ethnic groups is quite striking.  Therefore an ‘ideal’ nose or face shape cannot be conceived across populations as distinct as Caucasians, Africans, Indians or Asians. Ethnic groups themselves put their own types of looks forward as examples of beauty and in their eyes they are more attractive than being Caucasian, even though Caucasian beauty has been defined by the master sculptors and artists of centres of civilizations such as ancient Greece and Rome.


  • Epoch, ethnic preferences, the media and fashion influence the observer’s conclusion of facial beauty. In the 1940's the fashionable lady’s nose in European eyes was rather short and up-turned nose tip , and in the 1960's a slight ski jump nose was considered stylish. In Greco-Roman times a high bridge with a shallow angle between forehead and bridge of the nose (the naso-frontal angle) as portrayed in sculptures that have survived the centuries, was considered manly and aristocratic.


  • Today ‘beauty’ is being defined to a large extent by the media of Western world powerhouse countries such as America and Europe. That is also where most plastic cosmetic surgery is being performed (although there has been a recent boom of plastic surgery in China). If the Asian or African countries would be the wealthiest, the most technologically advanced and had the highest standard of living then perhaps everyone aspiring to be 'beautiful' would probably want to look Asian or African and have their features. Many Asians, Latin Americans and Africans try to imitate Western world (USA and Europe) ideas of beauty, not because the European traits are more beautiful per se but because those traits represent ‘beauty’ in these countries of wealth, power and high standard of living. In the USA and parts of the Western world and Middle East rhinoplasty request have increased in the last decade. It is generally agreed that a successful nose shape change makes the person look considerably younger. 


  • What happens when everyone in a society is finally beautiful? When the final aesthetic surgery is developed that will make all visages and bodies "perfect"? will everyone in that society be happy? In examining the discourses of the late nineteenth century on this question, we are confronted with the paradox of François Xavier Bichat, as paraphrased by Charles Darwin: "If everyone were cast in the same mould, there would be no such thing as beauty. If all our women were to become as beautiful as the Venus de’ Medici (de Milo), we should for a time be charmed; but we should soon wish for variety; and as soon as we had obtained variety, we should wish to see certain characters a little exaggerated beyond the then existing common standard.” 

          Resource detail-Petra Christian University Library-from “Creating Beauty to Cure

          the Soul”-Author Gilman, Sander


  • Irrespective of all the above discourse about epoch, fashion or ethnicity, on first meeting someone the immediate, reflex focus is on the eyes and immediately attention is drawn to the most prominent and powerful facial feature, the nose. The triangle of the face, bounded above by the eyes and eyebrows, and below by the apex formed by the chin, has the nose as its focal point. It has nowhere to hide! It can be decorated, painted or masked, but it cannot be hidden and any imperfection is noticed. It is politely ignored but impression has been mentally recorded. 


  • This focal point is immediately noticed and there is then an instinctive impression in the observer's mind (based on his/her aesthetic values) as to whether the person is beautiful, attractive, or ugly. It doesn’t matter how aesthetically perfect the rest of the face may be, if the nose is 'ugly' and disproportionate to the aesthetics of the face, the observer, in his mind’s eye immediately and subconsciously formulates his/her aesthetic conclusion.


  • Scientific research suggests that the human perception and recognition of 'human-ness' and sense of beauty is genetically encoded. That is, like other animals, we are genetically programmed from birth to be able to recognise our own species. The primary way we recognise other humans is by the visual perception of their face. Psychologists have demonstrated the universal recognition of at least 10 facial expressions in addition to repose, smiling and various emotions. Our sense of a friendly and beautiful face is probably also genetically encoded in our brains and we as humans respond instinctively and immediately to these expressions.


  • The nose also sometimes gives us a lot more information about a person than merely aesthetics. It may suggest certain genetic origins (Greek, Caucasian, African, Hispanic, Egyptian, Middle Eastern, Asian, Oriental, Semitic, etc.); Alexandra the Great, considered by many as a Greek 'God' had a ‘typically’ Grecian nose and has been portrayed as having a high radix (naso-frontal angle) and a large, long, strong nose. See Ethnic Rhinoplasty


  • Do noses reveal character? Ask yourself why it is that artists throughout the ages have painted and drawn the devil and other nasty or 'funny' characters with ugly, hooked or pointed noses? Every child who has seen Walt Disney’s cartoon films of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" will remember the hooked, ugly nose of the witch and the bulky, protuberant nose of the dwarf ‘Grumpy’, and other animated film characters with ugly noses such as Pinocchio and Cyrano de Bergerac. We even today call a long, narrow, pointed nose a 'Pinocchio nose.' The shape of the nose plays a crucial and important role in our identification of 'facial beauty'. ( By the way, Body Shape and should not be totally ignored when one is contemplating to undergo nose shaping surgery in order to improve their image.)


  • We should not overlook the assumptions that the shape and size of the nose often has on 'sexuality'. The nose is an extremely sensitive organ in the animal kingdom and in man; and responds to a variety of stimuli (in man as well as in animals) to smell, hormone changes, pheromones and sexual stimuli and mating encounters. It is a well documented phenomenon that sexual stimulation often results in temporary nose blockage due to engorgement of the the nasal mucous membranes and nasal turbinates.
  • In many species the sense of smell is more important than vision. In man, female or male olfactory stimuli can be overpoweringly sensual in sexual encounters. (Billions of dollars have been invested in pefumes)



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Text 11 November 2020