Views & Reviews Past Caring

Having a nose for it

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 13 March 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:618
  1. Wendy Moore, freelance writer and author, London
  1. wendymoore{at}

Have they? Haven’t they? Today gossip magazines fill column inches pondering which celebrities have had a nose job. Two centuries ago there was no such doubt but just as much fascination when news of a remarkable nose reconstruction reached Europe from India.

The desire for a perfect nose has long been associated with the seedier side of life. Whereas victims of excess—whether cocaine, wealth, or vanity—now pay fortunes to augment the central feature of their faces, in the past noses were commonly lost in duels and street brawls and from the effects of tertiary syphilis. In certain cultures noses were even amputated as punishment for adultery.

Yet although rhinoplasty …

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