OMG — look at my nose in this selfie.

That's not exactly what patients would say, but facial plastic surgeon Boris Paskhover is seeing a growing number of younger individuals seeking a nose job and presenting a selfie as the reason why.

"They take out a phone and it's usually a selfie, and then they show me they're unhappy with the width of their nose," said Paskhover, an assistant professor with Rutgers New Jersey Medical School's department of otolaryngology.

But these close-up smartphone photographs are not always telling the truth, he notes. Taking a selfie, he claims, is like looking into a portable funhouse mirror.

Explaining this to a patient with a damaged self image wasn't so easy, and rarely successful.

So the Bergen County resident, with help from a Stanford researcher, developed a model to better explain why selfies shouldn't be used to evaluate one's nose size.

selfie effect
Rutgers facial plastic surgeon Boris Paskhover worked with a Stanford mathematician to develop a model to show patients how much their nose becomes distorted in close-up photos.

The model, published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery in March, shows that an average selfie — taken from about 12 inches from the face — makes the nasal base appear approximately 30 percent wider and the nasal tip 7 percent wider, compared to a photograph taken 5 feet from a subject.

"Anything that's closer to the camera is going to look bigger," Paskhover said. "It's exceptionally noticeable in selfies when you take a picture from 12 inches away."

In a poll conducted by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, 55 percent of surgeons said they've had patients seek cosmetic procedures "for improved selfies," Rutgers said.

Rhinoplasty, Paskhover added, can run a patient up to $12,000, depending on its complexity.

But now when he attempts to inform a patient of the funhouse-like features of a smartphone photo, he's got a published entry in a medical journal to back him up.

"Now I can tell them, 'Just google it,'" he said.

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