What Is An “Ethnic Rhinoplasty”?
The nose is a central portion of an individual’s face that may vary among different cultural and ethnic backgrounds relating to the size, structure, shape, and overall appearance of the nose. An “ethnic rhinoplasty” is a term used to refer to altering the qualities and appearance of the nose, keeping in mind the differences that are unique to each culture and ethnic background.
What Are Some Of The Differences In The Nose That Are Impacted By Ethnicity And Background?
Most people think that the shape of your nose may only be based on your parent’s noses. However, the reality is far greater. Depending on the region of the world you and your ancestors come from, biological evolution may have impacted the appearance of the nose. Recent studies have shown that the climate of our ancestors has impacted the overall appearance of the nose. The study evaluated nostril width, height, length, projection, and area of the nostrils across different ethnicities in varying climates. They found that noses that have evolved over time from northern, colder climates, may have narrower nostrils and increased length and projection, in addition to longer nasal bones. They also found that ethnicities that evolved over time in warmer climates had wider noses, with larger nostril area. The researchers believed that narrower nostrils altered airflow in a way that allowed the air to be warmed better by the tissues inside the nose. Warmer climate ethnicities need to warm inspired airless, but need more humidification, requiring larger nostrils. Climate is just one example of how evolution rooted in our ancestry may affect our appearance.
What Are The Considerations In An Ethnic Rhinoplasty That Are Different From Conventional Rhinoplasty?
No matter what type of rhinoplasty you are considering, it is always important to communicate with your surgeon what it is exactly that bothers you about your nose and what you want to be changed. Many plastic surgery studies and analyses are based on old conventional measurements based on Greco-Roman ideals from another century. These ideas may “recommend” a certain nasal projection, or rotation, or length. These ideals are also subject to social and cultural shifts in values over time. That being said, it is important your surgeon understand what “your ideal” is, and what you want to be changed. Our nose gives us our character and reflects not only ourselves but our ancestry and heritage. Sometimes, our ancestry leaves us more than we wanted (e.g. a longer nose than you bargained for!). An ethnic rhinoplasty attempts to harmoniously alter the shape and structure of the nose of our ancestors without compromising our unique qualities and identify.
Will Your Nose Look Dramatically Different After An Ethnic Rhinoplasty?
It is important to discuss with your surgeon your specific goals and desired outcome with each surgery. Dr. Mourad has patients that want minimal work done, that maintains the overall “identify” of their ancestor’s nose with slight modifications, while he also seeks consultations from patients that would like a dramatic change. Open communication with your surgeon will ensure that you get the result you deserve.
- Anesthesia: Depending on the type of anesthesia administered, patients may have a reaction. This is exceedingly rare, and it is important to discuss your personal risk with your anesthesiologist.
- Infection: In rare circumstances patients may develop an infection following rhinoplasty procedures. These are usually managed with intraoperative and postoperative antibiotics.
- Bleeding: Although rare, patients may have bleeding episodes following nasal surgery. Your surgeon will likely order blood work to make sure you are healthy enough to undergo the procedure. Your surgeon should also go over all medications and supplements that you take to minimizing bleeding risk.
- Need for secondary and revision surgeries: Depending on the complexity of the surgery, sometimes multiple surgeries are required to ensure the best aesthetic and functional outcomes.
- Scarring and Poor wound healing: Some patients with underlying medical conditions or more prone to poor wound healing and scarring. It is important to understand these risks prior to embarking on a treatment strategy.
- Local Reactions: Sometimes you may experience local reactions to the ointments, sutures, taping material, and nasal packing used during surgery and postoperatively. This is rarely seen, but may occur. If you have any allergies to certain materials or adhesives you should discuss with your surgeon.
- Changes in nasal sensation: Patients may experience altered sensations in their nose (pain or numbness). This is exceedingly rare, and if it occurs it is most often temporary.
- Persistent, New, or Recurrent Nasal Airway Obstruction: Altering the nose may result in changes to breathing. Sometimes patients may develop new, persistent or recurrent airway problems. This is rare, but oftentimes is due to poor wound healing or scarring (see above). This may require secondary surgeries to optimize outcomes.
- Continued need for medical therapies: If you have breathing complaints related to medical causes (e.g. allergies), then you may continue to require medical nasal therapies (e.g. nasal steroids and sprays).
- Swelling: Swelling is a common part of the healing process. Sometimes this swelling may persist for a prolonged period of time.
- Poor Aesthetic Outcome: Although the goal of rhinoplasty is to enhance the aesthetics of the nose, sometimes patients may have an unsatisfactory result. This may occur due to poor communication and understanding of the goals by the surgeon. Other times, it may be due to poor wound healing, scarring, and swelling (see above). It is important that you spend a significant amount of time with your surgeon in order to outline the exact goals and desires of surgery to minimize the chance of a poor outcome.
- Nasal Septal Perforation: A hole in the septum may develop. Oftentimes these do not cause any problems. Other times however, they may cause crusting, bleeding, and breathing difficulties. These require secondary surgeries for repair.
Should I See Dr. Mourad About My Rhinoplasty?
Dr. Mourad treats patients from a diverse patient population with unique ethnicities. Based in New York City, Dr. Mourad enjoys the variety of patients, stories, and backgrounds that patient’s come with, in consultation for a new nose. He listens carefully, trying to understand what it is about your specific nose that bothers you and can help you attain “your ideal”, without compromising what defines you. It is also important to find a surgeon that understands the intrinsic differences between ethnicities and specializes in ethnic rhinoplasty to maximize your result. Dr. Mourad is a specialist in the area of ethnic rhinoplasty. He speaks Arabic fluently, and has a large Middle Eastern patient population, in addition to seeing patients of Hispanic, African America, European, and Asian backgrounds. His approach is individualized and tailored to your specific needs.
Select Relevant Publications
Kadakia S, Mourad MW, and Ducic Y. Supraclavicular Flap Reconstruction of Cutaneous Defects Has Lower Complication Rate than Mucosal Defects. Journal of Reconstructive Microsurgery. 2017 May; 33(4):275-280. Link to Article.