Rhinoplasty (nose job) is, by far, the most popular facial cosmetic procedure. In fact, it is the second most-often performed cosmetic surgical procedure. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 252,000 rhinoplasty procedures were performed in 2010, second only to breast implant procedures, which came in at 296,000.
It should be rather self-evident that no two rhinoplasty patients will be exactly alike. This is particularly true for African-American patients, who make up anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of those rhinoplasty procedures. However, there are some unique challenges that a cosmetic surgeon will face when performing rhinoplasties on African-American patients, due to certain similarities in the nose size and shape of these patients. Dr. Marin believes that the key to working with such patients is keeping the features as natural looking as possible.
What Are Some of the Common Features to the African-American Nose?
Wide nostrils: One common feature of African-American noses is wide, flat nostrils with thick skin. In cases such as this, the goal is to not only narrow the nostrils horizontally, but to also give them a more defined, open shape.
Wide, flat, and/or bulbous nasal tip: Similar to the shape of the actual nostrils, the nasal tip can often be wide, flat, and/or bulbous. The skin in this area of the nose can also be thick.
Wide and/or low nasal bridge: Some African-American patients have nasal bridges that may be too wide and/or low. The typical treatment for this would be to actually break the bridge of the nose (osteotomy) to reshape it. However, for African-American patients, this may lead to the bridge appearing too narrow, this emphasizing the size of the nasal tip even more.
African-American Rhinoplasty Procedure
Procedures for an African-American rhinoplasty will vary, depending upon the patient’s desired goal for the shape of the nose. A series of small incisions are made on the inside of the nose, so as to not be visible. In some cases, an incision may be needed across the septum (the cartilage separating the nostrils), but this should heal with no visible scarring.
Dr. Marin prefers to not just reshape the nasal tip or nostrils, but to actually reshape the entire lower third of the nose. This will provide a much more natural look to the face. Reshaping the nostrils or nasal tip may require either removing cartilage or, in some cases, reshaping it with grafts taken from elsewhere. The most common graft site is from behind the ear, which will leave minimal scarring.
Recovery and Results
Rhinoplasties are done on an outpatient basis. The patient will be sent home with the nose in a splint to help the bones and cartilage set into its new shape.
This should be kept on for at least a week following the procedure. The most common side effects from rhinoplasty are swelling and bruising. Ice packs or cold compresses applied to the nose will help reduce the amount of bruising and swelling, as will taking the herb Arnica montana. It may take two to three weeks for the nose to setting into its final shape once all the bruising and swelling goes down.
The nose is the most prominent feature on the face. As such, a properly shaped nose will provide good balance for all of the facial features. Dr. Marin can help African-American patients achieve that facial balance, without sacrificing the unique qualities of their nasal shape and size.
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