There are certain challenges inherent in any type of rhinoplasty (nose reshaping) procedure. Rhinoplasty is an extremely difficult and complex surgery that requires a level of customization seen in very few other plastic surgery procedures. Aesthetics, function, and facial balance are all vital aspects of the surgery, and the uniqueness of each patient makes each case a new challenge for the surgeon. Because rhinoplasty involves skin, cartilage, and bone, the quality of each of these tissues, as well as the overall foundation of the nose, has an impact on the procedure. African-American rhinoplasty, for instance, often involves the nasal tip and adding projection and definition to this area. So why is this so common and what are some of the challenges involved with this type of tip rhinoplasty?
African-American Nasal Anatomy
Ethnic rhinoplasty presents its own set of challenges for plastic surgeons. African-American patients often have certain nasal qualities that affect the surgical process, and prompt the patients to seek surgical correction. Many African-American patients have a flatter nasal tip that is round and lacks projection. This, combined with a low, flat bridge, thick skin, and wider nostrils, often makes the nose overall appear too wide and undefined.
The Role of Nasal Cartilage
Cartilage grafting is key in adding definition to the nasal tip. In the African-American nose, the nasal tip cartilage is often weak and spongy, covered by a thick skin envelope, which adds to the appearance of poor definition in the tip. Grafting usually involves cartilage from the nasal septum, which is then shaped and placed in the nasal tip to improve tip projection and definition. Preserving the roundness of the nasal tip while adding definition can be difficult, but a talented plastic surgeon should be able to accomplish this goal in most patients.
Preserving Ethnic Identity
The goal in African-American tip rhinoplasty should not be to remove the roundness of the tip entirely—a pointed, narrow, Caucasian-style nasal tip will typically be out of sync with the other features and potentially damage ethnic identity, a key factor in ethnic rhinoplasty. Instead, additional projection should preserve the rounded tip for an enhanced appearance without sacrificing facial harmony.
Recovery from Rhinoplasty
Recovery from rhinoplasty is much less intensive than it used to be, but it is a gradual process that involves some patience. Because African-American nasal skin is typically thick, it is prone to slower healing of the swelling that results from nasal surgery. Typically, patients can return to work within a week or two, with limitations on strenuous activity for a few weeks after this initial recovery period. Residual swelling then slowly subsides, sometimes taking as long as 18 months to fully resolve.
Choosing a Plastic Surgeon
When choosing your plastic surgeon for ethnic rhinoplasty, there are many different qualities that are important to consider. First, your plastic surgeon should be a board certified specialist who has a great deal of experience in ethnic rhinoplasty. Second, he or she should have a wide base of successful examples to give prospective patients, as well as the knowledge to address questions and concerns. Finally, you should choose a surgeon who respects your ethnic identity and uniqueness, a surgeon who will work hard to help you achieve facial balance and harmony. You need to be able to trust your surgeon completely, and it may take a while to find a provider who fits the bill.
If you are looking for an expert in the Boston area, come to Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery and meet with acclaimed facial plastic surgeon Dr. Stuart Bentkover, a doctor with passion for the procedure, decades of experience, and an artistic touch for creating good outcomes in a diverse patient base. If you would like to discuss your goals with Dr. Bentkover, call his Worcester (508-363-6500) or Stoneham (617-247-0033) locations today to schedule your consultation.