Importance: Contingent valuation, or willingness to pay, is an established economic concept that has been applied in other areas of medicine and may be useful for understanding the economic forces that determine the cost of cosmetic procedures. Objective: To determine the monetary value of changes in attractiveness achieved through rhinoplasty, as perceived by society. Design, Setting, and Participants: Cross-sectional survey administered via public online forums to 228 casual observers. Main Outcomes and Measures: Participants were shown preoperative and postoperative photographs of 12 patients who underwent cosmetic rhinoplasty and 4 patients who did not undergo any surgery. They were asked to rate (1) the change in overall attractiveness of the patients, and (2) the monetary value they would associate with these changes. Results: Completed surveys were obtained from 228 casual observers; 144 were female (63.2%); median age, 25 years (median income bracket, $50000-$75000). Multilevel, mixed-effects, linear regression was used to characterize the association between monetary value and change in attractiveness. There was a significant association between the change in attractiveness from a rhinoplasty and its monetary value as perceived by society. The baseline value of a rhinoplasty without any change in attractiveness was $3769.98 (95% CI, $3541.59-$4007.10; P <.001). To increase 1 standard deviation in attractiveness was worth an additional $2353.77 (95% CI, $2197.57-$2512.81; P <.001), while increasing 2 standard deviations in attractiveness was worth an additional $5453.07 (95% CI, $5052.57-$5865.51; P <.001). Conclusions and Relevance: There is a significant association between the societally perceived value of cosmetic rhinoplasty and the change in attractiveness after surgery. The average value of a rhinoplasty in our study approximates the actual average cost of cosmetic rhinoplasty, suggesting that willingness to pay may be a useful concept for studying the value of cosmetic procedures. Level of Evidence: NA.
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