Rhinoplasty All the Rage in Iran

ByABC News via logo
February 15, 2007, 9:18 AM

Feb. 15, 2007 — -- What if your face was your only fashion statement? Your best accessory might be your nose.

That is the case in Iran, which has been called the "nose job capital of the world."

Rhinoplasty rates have been rising dramatically in the Islamic republic.

There is no stigma. In fact, many women openly wear "bandages of honor" on their noses to show they've had the operation.

In Iran, women's bodies and hair are largely kept covered by a hijab, or head scarf, and in some cases, a chador, a large shawl to cover the body.

Instead of clothing and cosmetics, Iranian women spend their money on tweaking what people can see.

"They have become more fashion conscious because they are deprived of it," said Azar Nafisi, the author of "Reading Lolita in Tehran."

"Every woman likes to be happy, likes to be secure, likes to look good, to feel good, and Iranians are no different," Nafisi said.

Iranian women are also influenced by images of Western culture and Hollywood, where smaller noses are considered beautiful. The ethnic Persian nose is out of vogue.

Magid Navab, a plastic surgeon known as the "Michelangelo of Tehran," says he's performed more than 30,000 nose jobs in his career so far.

"Tehran -- it's one of the centers of the cosmetic surgery," Navab said.

The cost of a nose job can fall between $1,000 and $6,000.

Nafisi suggests the rhinoplasty trend is not such a bad thing.

"The battle that we attribute to Iranian women is so central to freedom of expression and freedom in the whole country. That is why it is so exciting to be a woman in Iran," she said.