Mar 5

I am African American and am considering rhinoplasty. Is your rhinoplasty technique different for me?

In general, people have always identified African American noses as ones with a wide, short nasal bridge with wide nostrils. However, in point of fact there is tremendous variability in every parameter of the African American nose: including nostril shape and flare, nasal length, skin thickness, columella length, nasal projection, and bridge height. Unfortunately people continue to try to “pigeon- hole” African Americans into one type.

Ethnic Rhinoplasty Base View

This African American patient is an example of some of the typical concerns addressed in an Ethnic Rhinoplasty. This young woman was unhappy with her lack of tip projection and definition, and the width and flare of her nostril base. She had a columellar strut, tip graft, and dorsal graft placed and an alar base reduction. In the After photo to the right, you can see that her tip projection and definition are improved and her nostril width and flare are reduced substantially. This reduction can be done naturally with inconspicuous scars and without the tell-tale pinched look that results in a very unnatural-looking nostril base.

All this being said, what we have found is that if we were to compare our average African American nose to our average Caucasian nose, we find that our African American patients tend to have:

  1. Wider nasal bridges
  2. Lower nasal bridges
  3. Thicker skin
  4. Wider, more bulbous nasal tips
  5. Thicker soft tissue overlying the nasal tip
  6. Softer cartilage
  7. Nasal tips that appears to droop
  8. Shorter nasal tips
  9. Wider variability in nostril shape
  10. Greater nostril flare (bigger nostril curvature)

So what does all of this mean to you if you are considering surgery?

It means that it is very important that you find a surgeon who is comfortable operating on people of different ethnicities. It is important for your surgeon to understand how thick skin differs from thin skin when dealing with rhinoplasty. It is also important for your surgeon to be able to individualize your surgery to achieve your goals. And most importantly, it is important for you to know what you want to achieve with the surgery.

We take all these factors into consideration in planning your surgery and in explaining to you, our patient, what can be accomplished with your surgery. We will sit with you in consultation as we work together to define what your goals are using computer imaging. Based on your desires and your individual anatomy, we will then determine a surgical plan which is best suited to achieve your individual goals.

For further info we recommend you go to our Modern Rhinoplasty online book and read further on African American Rhinoplasty.

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