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Nose jobs: Hazardous to your health?

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May 14, 1996
Web posted at: 6:00 p.m. EDT

From Correspondent Dan Rutz

NEW YORK (CNN) -- At 21, Barbara wanted the perfect nose. At 42, she would be happy to be able to breath though her nose again. Barbara is not alone in needing to have a "fixed" nose fixed again.

In fact, as many as one in every five nose jobs in the United States is performed to correct a previous surgery.

While rhinoplasty is the most popular form of plastic surgery, a surgeon who specializes in nose job repair is warning people not to rush into drastic changes.


According to Dr. Thomas Romo of New York's Lenox Hill Hospital, the most prevalent problems in rhinoplasty are overzealousness on the part of the patient and a doctor's unwillingness to admit he cannot create the patient's dream nose.

Normally, Romo said, when patients decide to have their noses done, they want their noses to be drastically smaller.

Unfortunately for them, when a doctor shaves too much off of the nose cavity to make it smaller, the airway is more likely to narrow and collapse.


Barbara Bern had a nose job when she was 21 and is about to have a second surgery to correct the first. Romo will reconstruct Bern's nasal cavity using her own tissue and plastic parts that will be unseen.


Romo warns his patients that the nose has to be made more rigid and possibly larger, which sometimes causes problems with his patients.

"Sometimes it is a tug of war trying to get them to say that you're going to have a little bit bigger nose . . . but the nose has to be bigger in order for it to breathe," he said.

Janet Bertero already has had her second rhinoplasty operation. Her first operation was not a success, but she is pleased with the procedure Romo performed. (174K AIFF or WAV sound).

Romo's strictest advice is to plastic surgeons: Do not give in entirely to a patient's desires.

If a surgeon removes too much of the nose, "the plastic surgeon has to go back and be a physician again and advise the patient, 'That's too much.' That's going to end up with you having a problem."

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