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People opt for a nose job (rhinoplasty surgery) for various reasons. They might want to straighten a broken nose that healed wrong, fix a breathing problem, or just have a less-prominent snout in selfies.
Women can now add anti-aging to the list of nose-job motives, according to a new study.
Cosmetic surgery researchers at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine fed "before" and "after" photos from female rhinoplasty patients into a facial recognition algorithm. The program is trained on thousands of portrait photos to estimate age based on facial characteristics. The scientists used photos from 100 women, and the robots scored the "after" photos as an average of three years younger.
"Rhinoplasty is widely recognized as a facial beautification procedure, but it isn't commonly known for its anti-aging effects," said study author Dr. Robert Dorfman in a press release. "This technology allows us to accurately estimate age in an objective way and has proven to recognize patterns and features of aging beyond what the human eye can perceive."
The experiment included photos of women ages 16 to 72 that were standardized – "after" photos were all taken 12 weeks after surgery at the same angle and distance, according to the study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.
"All photos were analyzed with Microsoft Azure Face API," the study states, "Which estimates patients' age by cropping the face from a photograph and then extracting a ... prediction through multiple deep neural networks."
Women who had the surgery at older ages showed more dramatic results, Dr. Dorfman said, with women over 40 appearing up to 7 years younger to the algorithm's trained eye. But the sample size of the 40-plus group was small (25 women), so further study would need to confirm the results.
How Cosmetic Surgery Fools the Algorithm
Dr. Jason Roostaeian, a senior study author and plastic surgery professor at UCLA, said the nose tends to droop on the face as we age, almost imperceptibly. Furthermore, the cheeks sag and lose volume as we age, making the nose appear more prominent.
Lifting and contouring the nose tends to make it smaller and sit slightly higher on the face, making the face appear more youthful, overall, Dr. Roostaeian said.
"This is something we have subjectively thought for many decades but now we have objective evidence through artificial intelligence to support this," he said in a press release.
What Are the Risks and Complications of Nose Job Surgery?
Though rhinoplasty may make some women appear younger, it's a major procedure that requires full anesthesia, often involving breaking and re-setting bone. Rhinoplasty comes with inherent risks, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine's reference encyclopedia, MedlinePlus.
Postoperative deformities are the main risks of a nose job. Between 5% and 15% of people who get nose jobs require additional surgery because of such deformities, according to a 2008 study in GMS Current Topics in Otorhinolaryngology. Other risks outlined in the study include:
- Breathing disturbances;
- Soft tissue cysts, numbness, or atrophy;
- Infection causing eye or brain damage;
- Clots and aneurysms; or
- Holes between sinuses and the carotid artery that do not heal (fistulas).
Risks with any surgery involve potential bad reactions to anesthesia, as well as bleeding, infection, or bruising at the incision site. More specifically to the rhinoplasty procedure, you could lose structural support for your nose and end up dissatisfied with how your face looks. Even in the hands of an experienced cosmetic surgeon, a nose job may deform the contours of the nose, according to MedlinePlus.
In fact, the Otorhinolaryngology study pointed out that many cosmetic surgeons ironically cite lawsuits as a potential rhinoplasty complication because so many patients are dissatisfied with results.
"Rhinoplasty can also become a court-case in dissatisfied patients, a situation that may be called a 'typical complication of rhinoplasty,'" the study states.
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