Everyone’s facial features are different, and when it comes to a facial plastic surgery procedure such as rhinoplasty, differences in the nasal features can make a big difference in how difficult and complex the surgery will be. Rhinoplasty is one of the most custom and challenging procedures to perform, and surgeons must be skilled, adaptable, artistic, and able to predict with reasonable accuracy how the final results will look. Ethnic rhinoplasty creates an additional layer of complexity for surgeons, as there are some nasal features common among certain ethnic groups that can affect the eventual outcome of surgery. Thick skin, for example, is an issue that can make surgery more difficult overall. But why is this?
How Thick Skin Affects Rhinoplasty
The nose is made up of skin, cartilage, and bone. The cartilage and bone form a framework for the nasal structure, and provide the nose with its shape and definition. The skin forms a sort of blanket over these structures, draping over the contours of the nose. When the “blanket” is thicker, it is more difficult to see the underlying structures. As a consequence of this, noses with thick nasal skin often have less definition, and it is more difficult for surgeons to improve on the nasal structure. Cartilage grafts are often used to improve on the structure and definition of the nose for improved aesthetics. There is an upside to thick nasal skin, however, in that it can conceal minor imperfections.
Ethnic Rhinoplasty and Thick Skin
While nasal skin in Caucasians is typically thin, many patients of Asian, African, and Hispanic descent have thicker nasal skin. Ethnic rhinoplasty involving thick nasal skin requires a skilled and knowledgeable surgeon to achieve a good outcome. Ethnic rhinoplasty typically involves the retention of ethnic identity while addressing the patients concerns and maintaining facial balance and harmony. Experience is one of the most important aspects of an ethnic rhinoplasty surgeon’s training, as thick skin can require greater knowledge of healing patterns and advanced rhinoplasty techniques. Each surgery is custom, so the surgeon must have the flexibility to adapt the procedure to the patient.
In addition to some ethnicities generally having thicker skin, men are also more likely than women to have thick, oily skin.
Unfortunately, one of the other downsides of thick skin has to do with the recovery time after rhinoplasty. While the initial timeline is the same, and patients can expect to return to work within a couple of weeks, the swelling in the nose can persist for much longer than in patients with thinner skin. While most patients can see full resolution in swelling within a year, patients with thick skin may have a small amount of swelling present in the nose for up to 18 months following surgery. This means that patients will have to wait longer to see the final results of surgery, and will have to be patient with the changes the nose goes through to get to these results.
Set Up for Success
When it comes to plastic surgery, especially rhinoplasty, you cannot be too careful during the planning and research phases. Rhinoplasty can have a high complication and revision rate due to the complexity of the procedure, particularly when challenges such as thick skin are present. It can be difficult to find a surgeon who understands the nuances of ethnic rhinoplasty, so patients should take care to only consult with expert, board certified facial plastic surgeons who have extensive experience in these procedures.
When consulting with surgeons, be sure to assess not only the surgeon’s skill and knowledge, but try to develop rapport and practice good communication from the very beginning. This will help you make a good decision and set you up for a smoother process overall.
For expert rhinoplasty advice or surgery (including ethnic rhinoplasty), come to Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery, and meet with acclaimed facial plastic surgeon Dr. Stuart Bentkover. Each patient can expect skilled, honest, and compassionate care and a custom procedure from Dr. Bentkover. If you would like to discuss your rhinoplasty goals with Dr. Bentkover, call his offices in Worcester (508-363-6500) or Stoneham (617-247-0033), MA today.