Ethnic Rhinoplasty: The “Classic” Nose Job is not One Size Fits All
Ethnicity has prevented some people from seeking plastic surgery for years, many fearing they would lose both their individuality and ethnic identity. But new procedures and specialized training in treating ethnic populations have opened new avenues for patients who previously were afraid to try many procedures, including rhinoplasty.
According to recent ASAPS data, racial and ethnic minorities accounted for approximately 20 percent of all cosmetic procedures in 2008. Hispanics led minority racial and ethnic groups in the number of procedures at 8 percent, followed by African-Americans, 6 percent; Asians, 4 percent; and other non-Caucasians, 2 percent.
When presenting for rhinoplasty, said Dr. Few, “many of these patients simply want to have features more commonly found in other family members – not features of specific celebrities or other racial/ethnic groups.”
“As more patients of color present for surgery, it is becoming increasingly important to have techniques that address their individual needs,” said Dr. Few. “It is vital to preserve the ethnic heritage of the given patient and understand that ethnic rhinoplasty is more about balance of the face and not assuming the look of another racial or ethnic group – a fear that many African American patients still have."
Understanding the inherent physiological differences among ethnic groups is also vitally important; such differences will dictate what techniques are used in the overall procedure.
Dr. Guerrerosantos cites the Mestizo population, prevalent in Latin America, as one example. “Compared with a long, narrow, straight Caucasian nose that is covered by thin skin, the Mestizo nose shows differences in size, shape and cutaneous cover. The supporting platform provided by the skeleton of the midface is different. Cartilage of the tip tends to be small, limiting nasal prominence and producing broadness of the nose,” he said. “In contrast to the classic reduction rhinoplasty that we perform in the Caucasian patient, in the Mestizo we need to do a combination of reduction and augmentation procedures.”
Cultural sensitivity also plays a key role; an understanding of the unique goals and aesthetic ideals of each ethnic group is as important as technique and surgical skill.
With increased understanding of ethnic concerns and new procedures that address the inherent differences in skin type and facial features, people of all ethnicities can rest assured that they can surgically improve their nose while still preserving their heritage.
The 2400-member American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), founded in 1967, is the leading organization of ABMS-certified plastic surgeons who specialize in cosmetic plastic surgery. With ASAPS active members certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Canadian active members certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and International members certified in their countries of origin, ASAPS is at the forefront of innovation in aesthetic plastic surgery.
Toll-free referral line: 888.ASAPS.11 (272.7711). Web site: www.surgery.org