People who went under the knife for nose
jobs sounded a bit more nasal five months after the surgery, according to a new
study from Iran.
The results from 27 surgeries showed that
"the voices changed in statistically significant ways, but the changes
were subtle," Dr Kamran Khazaeni told Reuters Health.
Khazaeni, a surgeon who specialises in ear,
nose and throat procedures, worked on the study at Mashhad University of
Medical Sciences in Iran.
The 22 female and five male patients
"noticed changes, but overall, they were satisfied," Khazaeni said.
Patients ranged in age from 18 to 45.
More pronounced nasal sounds
A team of linguists and speech pathologists
detected more pronounced nasal sounds in test words like "man" and
"namak" post-surgery after listening to voice recordings of the
Persian, the official language of Iran, has
no nasal vowels, but does have nasal consonants – like the "m" in
"man" and the "n" in "namak" – said Khazaeni,
explaining why the group focused on those two words.
The results were confirmed with patient
self-assessments and a computer program that analyzes acoustic sounds.
About one in 560 Iranians had cosmetic nose
surgery in 2011. By comparison, about one in 1 250 US men and women had the
same procedure in 2012, according to national surveys from both countries.
Writing in the February issue of Plastic
and Reconstructive Surgery, Khazaeni and his team say that if nose jobs, also
called rhinoplasties, can change vocal sounds by narrowing a person's nasal
cavity, people who rely on their voice for professional reasons should be made
aware of this possible risk.
From the chest and throat
But Dr Steven Pearlman, a facial plastic
surgeon based in New York City who was not part of the current research,
disagreed, at least in cases where patients are singers.
"The better trained the singer is, the
less the nose has to do with it," Pearlman said. "I've operated on
patients who are rock stars, Broadway stars and opera singers," Pearlman
told Reuters Health.
"And in the classically trained American
style of singing, you sing from the chest and the throat, not the nose,"
he said, adding that speaking is different from singing and perhaps Middle
Eastern methods of singing rely more on the nasal cavity for sound.
Regarding the study, the idea and goal were
good, "but the execution was limited," Pearlman said.
An important missing element is nasal
airflow measurements taken on each patient before and after the surgery in
order to detect changes in how air passes through the nose. "Without this
measurement, you may have airflow changes, but you don't know," he said.
One of the hardest procedures
The study raises interesting questions,
such as why these results are being seen in Iran and not in North America, said
Dr Minas Constantinides. Anecdotally, of the more than 2000 rhinoplasties he
has performed, Constantinides said only one patient expressed concerns about
more voice nasality after surgery.
Constantinides practices facial plastic
surgery in New York City and is secretary of the American Academy of Facial
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
"Rhinoplasty is one of the hardest
procedures to do in facial plastic surgery," Constantinides said, adding
that people need to carefully research surgeons before moving forward with the
procedure."Patients understand that surgery always has some risk attached
to it," he said. "However, voice change is not something that
patients need worry about in competent hands."
Picture: Nose from Shutterstock