Does My Ethnic Background Matter When it Comes to Rhinoplasty?

RhinoplastyThis year at The Rhinoplasty Society’s annual meeting, the organization’s president-elect, a Dallas cosmetic surgeon named Rod Rohrich, brought up the fact that the ethnic diversity of patients who are seeking out rhinoplasty is increasing. This may not seem like a world-changing discovery, but consider this: Rhinoplasty is the second most popular cosmetic surgery out there, yet some doctors aren’t taking the time to educate themselves on the many nuances involved in successfully reshaping the many different types of noses they are presented with. The problem with this approach is that non-Caucasian noses pose different types of challenges than Caucasian noses do. The skin of patients of non-Caucasian descent is often thicker, which can make it difficult to gauge the framework of the nose accurately; cartilage grafts are sometimes necessary for patients of different ethnic backgrounds as well, because the nasal structure can be more delicate. Patients with darker skin are also more susceptible to scarring, so incisions must be more precise and carefully planned.

Years ago, when plastic surgeons didn’t have the technological advantages we have today, rhinoplasty was less complicated: a surgeon learned how to create one type of nose, and that was what their patients got. Today, however, this is not the case; now we have the ability to improve upon specific aspects of the nose that a patient finds undesirable while still preserving their unique ethnic characteristics. Instead of giving every rhinoplasty a stock, “white”-looking nose, plastic surgeons can give them a nose that fits their face naturally . . . as long as they know how.

So does your ethnic background matter when it comes to having rhinoplasty? Yes, absolutely—and if you wish to preserve the essential characteristics of your nose, you should make sure that your surgeon takes that factor into consideration when planning your procedure, and that they have experience performing nose reshaping on patients of varying ethnic descent.