A third of those people who request for nose jobs may suffer a psychological disorder rather than an actual nasal structural or functional problem.
Belgian researchers found that 33 of those requesting for nose reconstruction had symptoms of the moderate or severe of a psychological condition named body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
The condition that sometimes called "imagined ugliness" is defined as a chronic mental illness in which the affected person is excessively concerned about and preoccupied by a perceived defect in his or her physical features body image.
Symptoms of BDD include extreme self-consciousness, excessive grooming, frequent examination in the mirror or avoiding mirrors all together, refusal to appear in pictures, obsessive thoughts of being ugly due to a defect and steering clear of social situations because of one's appearance.
For the study, the scientists at University Hospitals Leuven surveyed 266 Belgian patients seeking a nose job over the course of 16 months.
According to questionnaires completed by the patients, 33 percent of the participants had symptoms related to BDD, according to the report published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Moreover, the rate of the symptoms was 43 percent among patients seeking a rhinoplasty for the sole purpose of improving their appearance.
In sharp contrast, only 2 percent of those who wanted to undertake the surgery for strictly medical reasons showed moderate to severe BDD symptoms.
The rate of severe symptoms was higher in the regular costumers of the cosmetic surgery.
Reportedly, 20 percent of the participants had a history of a previous nose job, and they were more likely to suffer significant BDD symptoms.
The researchers also found that the severity of the symptoms "was unrelated to an objective evaluation of the nasal shape; many patients who were highly concerned about their appearance had a normal-looking nose or only minor defects."
"This study shows that the prevalence of BDD symptoms in a cosmetic rhinoplasty population is high and that the severity of symptoms has a clearly negative effect on daily functioning," wrote Dr. Valerie A. Picavet and her colleagues.
The researchers didn't examine the participants and just studied the rates of BBD symptoms in them. Therefore, the findings do not mean that most of the nose job seekers are mentally ill.
However, scientists urged plastic surgeons to consider mental health history of the customers as well as their physicals condition and suggest those with BDD symptoms consult with a mental health expert.