African American Rhinoplasty
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The African American Nose
Numerous studies have revealed that there is tremendous variability in nasal anatomy with respect to every parameter, including nostril shape and flare, nasal length, skin thickness, columella length, nasal projection, and dorsal height in the African American nose. However, despite the existence of detailed anatomic descriptions and anthropometric studies revealing this wide variability, many authors continue to attempt to “pigeon-hole” this group into a specific set of features.
In point of fact, studies have demonstrated that, due to the diverse backgrounds of the African American population, there appears to be more of a continuum rather than distinctive groupings of nasal features. It has long been apparent to Drs. Solieman and Litner that they must analyze patient anatomy and patient desires on an individual basis rather than based on any ethnic preconceptions relating to nasal structure. In this context, they have found that computer imaging provides an invaluable asset in communicating with you, our patient, regarding what is and what is not possible with surgery. In other words, computer imaging is utilized to better learn what you are seeking and, just as importantly, to explain what can be achieved given soft tissue and structural limitations.
While wide variability exists in the African American population as a whole, generalizations can be made that may be used as a guide when planning rhinoplasty for our patients. Specifically, if we compare the average African American nose to the average Caucasian nose, we find that African American patients tend to have:
- Thicker, sebaceous, relatively inelastic skin
- Wider tips, sometimes having a more bulbous appearance
- Thicker soft tissue overlying the nasal tip
- Softer cartilage
- A more acute nasolabial angle (nasal tip appears to droop a little)
- Shorter nasal tip
- Wide variability in nostril shape
- Greater nostril flare
- Wider nasal bridge that tends to be lower in height
When present, Drs. Litner and Solieman take these differences in anatomic and structural components into consideration in planning your surgery and in explaining to you, our patient, what can be accomplished with your surgery.