My wife and I were recently having a conversation about ethnic rhinoplasty. How does the anatomy of the nose differ from race to race?
For many years, the “ideal nose” in rhinoplasties performed in the United States and Europe was based on the Greco-Roman, Caucasian model. Of course, across the world there has long been an understanding of important differences between the traditional “European” aesthetic ideals and the ideals for the beautiful faces of other parts of the world.
While it is convenient to generalize about characteristics of the noses of various ethnic groups, it is important not to place too much emphasis or focus on this. While there are stereotypes about the typical “Italian” nose, the typical “Jewish nose,” the typical Asian nose, the typical Hispanic nose, the typical African-American nose, and so forth, in my practice I have seen many “ethnic” patients with a so-called “Caucasian nose,” and vice versa. I have seen enough exceptions to the rule that I no longer spend so much energy focused on the rule.
But there are some generalizations that can be made. For example, the Asian nose is characterized by thick skin with abundant fibrofatty tissue; a low, wide and flat nasal bridge with short nasal bones, and a broad, bulbous, thick-skinned, nasal tip. The Asian nose is most commonly flat, broad and short. The nasal tip tends to be rounded and poorly defined. There tends to be less projection than is desired.
The African-American nose may be generally described by thick skin with abundant fibrofatty tissue; a low, wide and flat nasal bridge with short nasal bones, and a broad, bulbous, thick-skinned, nasal tip. The African-American nose is generally flat, broad and short. The nasal tip tends to be rounded and poorly defined. There tends to be less projection than is desired. The decrease in nasal projection tends to be exaggerated by a prominent or protruding upper lip.
The most commonly encountered Hispanic nose is also characterized by thick skin with abundant fibrofatty tissue, and a broad, bulbous, thick-skinned, nasal tip. However, it is more common to encounter Hispanic patients with a nasal hump.
While these generalizations can be a useful way of categorizing and communicating, ultimately what is most important is the patient’s specific anatomy – your specific anatomy. If the specific patient in my office fits the “general rule,” then that is fine. But, more than likely (as we are all unique) the patient’s nose will deviate from the general rule in some way.
So, I prefer to talk about the thick-skinned nose, the wide nose, the flat nose. The treatment of these problems is the same regardless of race, religion or creed!