Question:

Hi Rabbi,
Is it permissible for a man to get a nosejob if his nose is not severely deformed, but he’s self conscious about it and would like to improve the way he looks? (The nosejob would be done in conjunction with a septoplasty procedure to correct breathing. Being that the septoplasty requires anesthesia, I don’t believe that also doing a nosejob during the procedure adds any additional risk.)

Answer:

The halachic considerations for a man to have plastic surgery involve 3 issues. 1. Is it considered wounding himself by having the operation as it is causing him a wound.  2. The anesthesia is dangerous, and perhaps he doesn’t have the right to put himself into danger. 3. Lo tilbash, since it is a womanly act to make herself beautiful, and not for men.

Regarding causing a wound, most poskim agree that it isn’t considered causing himself a wound, since he is doing it for his own benefit and to make himself better. Therefore it is not an issue. Regarding the second issue some poskim to forbid it because of the risks involved, however most poskim permit it. In your case, that you are going to have an operation for a different reason, this issue would surely not apply

The third issue, Lo Tilbash really depends on the severity of the blemish and how uncomfortable or embarrassed you are from it. If it is causing you physiological pain, and you are embarrassed from it, then it would be permitted, however if it is just to make yourself look better, then it shouldn’t be done.  See sources.

Sources:

Regarding plastic surgery in general see Tzitz Eliezer 11-41(9), that he prohibits it in all instances since it isn’t for a medical need. Shevet Halevi 6-198, forbids it, not because of the procedure, but because of the danger of the anesthesia. See Igros Moshe CH”M 2- 66 that it isn’t considered chavalah if it isn’t being done in a way to embarrass or hurt the person, therefore he permits it for a women. Minchas Yitzchok vol. 6 105 (2), agrees with R’ Moshe, however he remains undecided regarding the aspect of putting oneself into danger by having the operation, since he isn’t so sick. Therefore in our case the operation is being done anyways he would also permit it. Chelkas Yackov CH:M 31 also says it is muter to do the operation if it is to take away pain.

See Shulchan Shlomo Refuah 1 pg 76, from R’ S. Z. Auerbach zt”l regarding plastic surgery for men, that if the deformity is causing him to be embarrassed when he goes among people, then the operation is being done to take away the pain of the embarrassment and permitted. However if it is only being done so that he look nicer, then it should not be done. Mishneh Halachos 4-247, and Yabia Omer 8 CH:M 12, also says the same thing that if he is embarrassed by it then it would be permitted, but if it is just to look nicer than it isn’t permitted. See Mishneh Halachos 4-246 that if the issue with the person’s nose would be considered a blemish for a kohen, then it would be considered removing a blemish and it would be permitted even for a man. However see Rivivos Efrayim  4-389, that it depends on how people see it.

See Shoshanas Ha’amokim 22 that R’ Eliyashiv and the Steipler zt”l permitted plastic surgery on children with significant aesthetic blemishes.

Tags: plastic surgery

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