What is African American Rhinoplasty?
Cosmetic nose surgery for African Americans, often referred to as Ethnic Rhinoplasty, is a customizable procedure that caters to the unique facial anatomy of patients. Individuals seeking to undergo this procedure tend to have thicker skin of the nose, a lower bridge height, and a wider nasal tip with more prominent nostrils. Most patients hope to retain the characteristics of their race while making minor adjustments to the structure of the nose.
Sometimes referred to as non-Caucasian rhinoplasty, the procedure can be adjusted for patients of Asian, Latino, Middle Eastern, and those of other ethnicities with differing nasal features. Our diverse and celebrated culture is also rich in patients of mixed race who cannot be easily categorized into a single group. A skilled facial plastic surgeon must have experience with rhinoplasty in all ethnicities to understand the challenges of obtaining specific results among varying anatomical differences.
Minimal changes ensure facial harmony and a balanced look. Many African American patients have full lips, and over-modification of the nose may cause them to appear disproportionately large. The facial width also tends to be greater in African American patients, and an under-projected nose may cause a visual clash of facial features. These characteristics are well documented in the medical community and have been researched in studies compiled by the Journal of the American Medical Association. It is through a conservative approach that Toronto facial plastic surgeon Dr. Robert A. Mounsey of Revesse alters the nose.
Outdated Approaches to Caucasian-Only Rhinoplasty
Patients should elect to undergo African American rhinoplasty with a doctor who specializes in this surgery. Many older surgeons were taught dated and traditional approaches to the procedure that did not accommodate varying ethnicities. Popular in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the “ski jump nose” was the cookie-cutter change provided for all women seeking rhinoplasty. The nasal bridge was given a concave shape and the nasal tip was elevated, which at the time appeared to be the Caucasian norm, due to its popularity. It is a more recent development in the field that every patient should leave with different results as, aside from twins, no two faces are identical. Modern aesthetic medicine dictates that each modification of the nose should result in an ethnically appropriate feature that offers full-face enhancement.
Surgical African American Rhinoplasty
Dr. Mounsey typically performs African American rhinoplasty under general anesthesia and will require about two hours of surgical time. While some doctors specialize in closed procedures, the doctor generally performs an open rhinoplasty by making the first incision on the columella, or the area of skin connecting the two nostrils, to expose the underlying structure. This technique offers better visibility and the opportunity to create more precise changes. By reshaping or removing the cartilage and bone, or using grafts and implants to build up areas of the nose, the patient’s desired look can be achieved. Because of the central location of the nose and its small size in relation to other features of the face and body, even minor changes can create a dramatic difference in a patient’s appearance.
Nonsurgical African American Rhinoplasty
Using expertly administered dermal filler injections, Dr. Mounsey can also temporarily alter the look of the nose. While dermal injections of Restylane® will not decrease the size of the nose, they can camouflage a nasal hump, reduce or eliminate asymmetries, and create the appearance of a nose in harmony with the rest of the face. In some cases, results can rival those produced through the traditional surgery. Though the effects are not permanent, certain fillers can last several months and, in some cases, a year or longer.
The Best Approach to African American and Ethnic Rhinoplasty
It is important that a facial plastic surgeon does not use a standard surgical approach to reshaping each nose. In fact, regardless of the noted similarities, many patients who are all considered to be of African heritage may exhibit very different noses, with variations in skin thickness and other attributes. Some mixed race patients may be more properly categorized as undergoing a traditional Caucasian rhinoplasty. Failure to understand these nuances may lead to suboptimal results. Dr. Mounsey’s philosophy is that African American rhinoplasty should result in natural enhancement of the physical appearance and improved breathing. Surgery should not attempt to change the appearance of the nose by making such dramatic changes that cosmetic enhancement is apparent. Artificial results detract from the attractiveness of the face.
Role of the African American Rhinoplasty Surgeon
The doctor’s most important function in the surgical process is to provide each patient with an improved nose that looks great with preserved or improved function. The surgeon must have an expert understanding of both nasal anatomy and physiology to accomplish these goals. It is also important that the doctor works to align the patient preferences with known standards of beauty to ensure the best results.
African American Rhinoplasty FAQs
What changes do African Americans frequently request?
Many of Dr. Mounsey’s patients feel that their noses appear to be too wide for their faces and overwhelm their looks. The doctor can adjust the nasal width, including the width of the nostrils, to offer a more delicate nose.
Why do so many African American celebrities display overdone African American rhinoplasty results?
Under the pressure of the limelight, many celebrities develop a mental condition known as body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD for short. They may have a skewed view of their appearance and seek an unrealistic version of aesthetic perfection. Additionally, a facial plastic surgeon should specialize in African American and ethnic rhinoplasty to be qualified to operate on non-Caucasian noses. There are many physical differences amongst the cultural variety of patients seeking cosmetic nose surgery.
How does the doctor help African American patients retain their ethnic identity?
Dr. Mounsey is careful to perform changes that alter the look of the nose while preserving elements of the feature that make it unique to a person’s race. The doctor does not approach the aesthetics with the intention of creating a Caucasian-looking nose. While the bridge may be heightened and the nostrils and nasal tip narrowed, the changes will be ethnically appropriate to provide harmony amongst all of the facial features.
Will there be visible scarring after African American rhinoplasty?
There may be a small external scar on the columella, but most other modifications can be made internally to prevent any obvious outward surgical marks. The columella is the area of skin on the underside of the nose that separates the nostrils.
How does the doctor address thick skin of the nose?
Though African American nasal skin can be thicker than that of other ethnicities, the fibro fatty layer below the skin may actually be the tissue that requires thinning, which allows for a shapelier nasal tip. In other patients, the doctor may elect to use septal cartilage or other cartilage grafts to build up areas of the nose for more dramatic changes than can be noticed through thicker tissues.
What are common changes Dr. Mounsey performs during African American rhinoplasty?
The beginning of the nose below the forehead may be lower, and the skin between the nostrils (the columella) may be relatively short. Sometimes the skin at the base of the nose must be removed to narrow the width of the nose though a procedure medically termed alar base narrowing. As previously mentioned, the height of the bridge may be raised and the nasal tip refined and narrowed where requested.
Dr. Mounsey with Revesse of Toronto
Dr. Robert A. Mounsey, MD, FRCSC, FACS, is a top-rated facial plastic surgeon in Toronto, Ontario and the surrounding suburban areas. The doctor focuses his practice on facial plastics and offers numerous nonsurgical and surgical options for enhancing the appearance.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Mounsey to learn about the numerous aesthetic changes the doctor can provide.
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Related Procedures: Facelift, Rhinoplasty, Revision Rhinoplasty, Chin Implant, Lip Augmentation, Otoplasty