By now, many people know and accept that standards of beauty vary from culture to culture and that a “one size fits all” approach is irrelevant. Different standards of beauty also come into play when it comes to plastic surgery, including rhinoplasty. A nasal shape and structure that works on one person’s face might not work on another’s. Ethnic rhinoplasty takes a person’s cultural identity and heritage into consideration when crafting a nose that truly fits his or her face.
Different Nose Shapes
Facial structure and anatomy tends to differ among different ethnic groups, which means that the changes made to a nose during rhinoplasty designed for Caucasian noses might not produce the same results when performed on a patient who is African-American or Latino. Within ethnic groups, there are also a number of differences when it comes to the size and shape of the nose.
Since there is so much variety, it is important that a patient speak with a surgeon who not only specializes in rhinoplasty, but who also has experience performing ethnic rhinoplasty. A surgeon who understands the complexity of the nose and the wide variety of nasal structures will be better able to provide a patient with the results he or she is looking for.
Typically, there are three areas in which the nasal structure varies among ethnicities. Often, the bridge of the nose is lower and narrower on African-American, and in some cases, Latino, patients, than it is on Caucasian patients. African-American patients also often have wider nostrils and a less pronounced nasal tip than Caucasian noses.
The goal of ethnic rhinoplasty isn’t to make an African-American or Latino person’s nose look like a Caucasian person’s nose. Instead, the goal is to be aware of those differences in shape and structure and to work with those differences. It is important to respect ethnic differences, and the goals of individual patients.
It’s not just the size and shape of the nose that differs among ethnicities. People’s skin type and texture can also differ depending on their heritage. Certain skin types can present greater challenges during surgery, as some types are more prone to discoloration or scarring than others.
One challenge that really is nonexistent is the concern about scarring in darker skin individuals. The reality is, with essentially every ethnic group, incisions made for rhinoplasty heal up as essentially undetectable scars.
The thickness of a patient’s skin can also affect the outcome of the rhinoplasty. Often, African-American patients have thicker skin in the area of the tip, which can present a few challenges during surgery. If the surgeon takes away too much skin from the tip area or tries to thin the skin in that area, the tissue can die, thanks to a reduction in blood flow to the area.
Since no two noses are alike, a consultation is a must for any patient considering rhinoplasty. The consultation is a time for the surgeon to get to know your nose and a time for you to get to know the surgeon. Don’t be afraid to ask questions during it. You not only want to find out about the surgeon’s experience performing rhinoplasty, but also his experience performing the surgery on patients with an ethnic heritage and background similar to yours.
Often, the surgeon will give you a good idea of what changes can be made to your nose and what changes are outside the realm of possibility during the consultation. You’ll get an idea of what you’ll need to do before the surgery to get ready and what your recovery will be like. Your surgeon will also give you an idea of the potential complications and what you can do to reduce the likelihood of those occurring. Very importantly, a review of that surgeon’s photos is essential for making sure that what you are being promised is achievable in that surgeon’s hands.
Recovering From the Surgery
The recovery period after ethnic rhinoplasty is similar to the recovery after any other type of rhinoplasty. There will be swelling, which is usually very noticeable for the first week. Swelling may continue for up to a year after the procedure, but is usually not visible after the first few days.
You’ll most likely be asked to take about a week off from your job and to avoid participating in certain activities, such as exercise, for at least two weeks after the surgery. The area around your nose will continue to be very delicate for some time after that, so you’ll also want to avoid any activities that could potentially harm it, such as sports that involve flying balls.
Choosing a surgeon who has ample experience with rhinoplasty and with performing procedures on a variety of different ethnicities is the first step to getting a nose that really fits your face and personality. Dr. Jeffrey Epstein is a double board certified facial plastic surgeon who regularly performs about four or five rhinoplasties per week at practices in Miami. He can evaluate your nose and answer any questions you have about the surgery. For a consultation in Miami, call (305) 666-5884.