Most people realize there is no one beauty standard. What looks beautiful on one person’s face might not look great on another’s. In recent years, ethnic rhinoplasty has become a procedure with which patients and facial plastic surgeons are becoming more engaged. There’s an understanding that different ethnic groups tend to have different nasal features and that rhinoplasty should work with and not against those features.
While people might think of African-Americans or Asians when they hear ethnic rhinoplasty, the term encompasses more ethnic groups than just those two. Latinos who are deciding on rhinoplasty, for instance, should work with a surgeon who understands the specific nasal needs for them and how to sculpt a nose that best complements each individual’s face.
Features of the Hispanic Nose
A study from 2011 suggested that there are 14 types of Caucasian noses, varying in terms of the size of the nostrils, the elevation of the tip, and the slope the nose. Generally, there are three types of Hispanic noses. The Castilian nose is often found on people of Spanish descent. The tip of the nose has an average projection and the bridge of the nose tends to be high.
The Mestizo nose typically has thicker skin and more sebaceous glands. The nostrils are usually rounded and the columella and other features are shorter than the Castilian nose. It also usually has a wider base, shorter bridge and weaker septum than other nose types. The third type, the Mexican-American nose, is often a combination of the Mestizo nose and the Castilian nose in terms of features. The bridge might be an average height, but the tip tends to droop.
Challenges and Goals of Hispanic Rhinoplasty
Certain features of a Hispanic nose can make rhinoplasty a more complicated procedure, which is why it’s advised that patients work with a surgeon who has plenty of experience in ethnic rhinoplasty. For example, thicker skin usually presents a number of challenges to a surgeon. It can be difficult for the surgeon to work with the thick skin and have the cartilage structure of the nose be visible beneath the skin.
Another challenge is that along with thicker skin, the nose may also have a weaker structural framework, such as a weak septum or short bridge. Weak structures can make it even more difficult for an inexperienced surgeon to create a defined nasal shape.
Often, the goal when performing ethnic rhinoplasty on Latino patients is to improve the definition of the nasal tip, but not to define the tip so much that the nose begins to resemble a Caucasian or other ethnic nose. The goal with an ethnic rhinoplasty is to maintain the patient’s ethnic identity while adjusting the nose so that it better complements his or her face. To achieve that goal, a surgeon needs to be on the same page as the patient and to fully understand the differences between one type of nose and another.
Avoid the Cookie Cutter Surgeon
If you are Latino and are considering rhinoplasty, the consultation you have with your surgeon will be very important. It’s a good idea to ask your surgeon questions about ethnic rhinoplasty. Find out how much experience he or she has performing the surgery on ethnic, particularly Latino, patients. Ask to see photographs of past Latino patients, so that you can see if the noses the surgeon sculpted work on their faces or if the noses all look as though they were created with a one-size-fits-all model. Since there are subtle differences between each person, you want a surgeon who is able to see and work with those differences to create a nose that is truly unique.
Is It Right for You?
Your consultation with the facial plastic surgeon is also an ideal time to decide whether or not surgery is really right for you. A surgeon can help you understand whether what you’re hoping to get from the surgery is realistic or achievable. For example, if you want a very upturned tip, your surgeon may advise against it and show you options that would work better with the rest of your facial features. The consultation is also a time for your surgeon to review your health to make sure you are in good shape for surgery and to answer any other questions you have.
Dr. Jeffrey Epstein is a facial plastic surgeon who specializes in rhinoplasty, including ethnic rhinoplasty. He is available to answer your questions about the surgery and to help you decide if it is the right procedure for you. Dr. Epstein has practices in Miami. For a consultation in Miami, call (305) 666-5884.