Ethnic Rhinoplasty: Enhancing the Natural Beauty of the Nose

By Chuma Chike-Obi, MD February 26, 2014 3 Comments

ethnic rhinoplasty

The nose is one of the largest focal points of the face and thus it plays an important factor in facial appearance. In addition to this fact, each nose features noticeable traits that directly reflect an individual’s ethnicity.

Ethnic rhinoplasty is a specialized version of rhinoplasty surgery where an emphasis is placed on enhancing the beauty of the nose while maintaining the patient’s natural ethnic features. The goal of ethnic rhinoplasty is to not “westernize the nose” as that look may appear unnatural for patients with other ethnic features. Instead, the focus is on using those ethnic features to enhance your look.

One of the most interesting aspects of ethnic rhinoplasty is that it is extremely difficult; noses of different ethnicities can have traits making the procedure complicated.

African American Rhinoplasty

Nose Characteristics: Generally speaking, African American noses feature more fatty tissue and thicker skin. The nasal bones are short and the bridge of the nose is often wide, low, and flat. Many African American patients complain about the width of their nostrils which can sometimes stretch as they smile.

Typical Procedure Overview: Rhinoplasty procedures often feature a narrowing of the nose bridge while using either an implant or harvested cartilage to increase the profile. Tip refinement and narrowing of the nostrils is common. Finally the removal of excess fatty tissue is usually necessary in order to show the new found definition.

Asian Rhinoplasty

Nose Characteristics: Asian noses share a lot of characteristics of Caucasian noses but are typically small and short with wide nostrils and tip, frail cartilage, and a flat bridge

Typical Procedure Overview: Unlike rhinoplasty in other ethnicities which usually calls for a reduction in the nose, most Asian rhinoplasty procedures involve augmentation, specifically building up the volume of the nose to making it more prominent in appearance. Oftentimes implants or cartilage taken from the patient’s ears or ribs is used. The surgeon molds the implant or cartilage for the tight fit. A high level of skill and experienced is required to reshape the tips and nostrils to match the new found high profile.

Hispanic Rhinoplasty

Nose Characteristics: Hispanic patients generally have noses with a thicker skin envelope and more sebaceous skin, softer cartilage, wider and lower nasal bridge, and less prominent profile. In particular the thicker skin (compared to Caucasian noses) makes rhinoplasty procedures challenging in that it can cover up changes to the underlying structure. The softer cartilage is not as supportive which limits how a surgeon can carve details into the appearance.

Typical Procedure Overview: Hispanic rhinoplasty typically features narrowing both the nose and nostril while refining the tip. Often custom-designed cartilage grafts must be used to have enough material to shape the nose and provide added strength to a droopy tip. Any bump in the on the bridge can also be smoothed.

Middle Eastern Rhinoplasty

Nose Characteristics: Patients of Middle Eastern decent typically have larger, more prominent noses with moderately wide nostrils and a downward nasal tip. Typically Middle Eastern noses feature a large hump and extra skin and tissue which can make the nose appear bulbous.

Typical Procedure Overview: The primary focus of the procedure is to lift the tip of the nose while reducing its size. This combination is typically accomplished by removing the excess skin and tissue from the nose and using a graft to elevate the tip.

Every Nose Is Unique

Every rhinoplasty surgery is different as every nose is unique. While the focus of rhinoplasty should be to enhance the beauty of your nose, a huge factor of success is making sure the alterations to the nose complement other facial characteristics. Ethnic rhinoplasty just features an additional emphasis on making sure the procedure provides an outcome that works with your natural ethnic look.


Chuma Chike-Obi, MD

Chuma Chike-Obi, MD completed a 6 year residency with the Division of Plastic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and Affiliate hospitals in Houston, Texas. Dr. Chike-Obi specializes in cosmetic surgery, including facelift, blepharoplasty, breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty, and reconstructive breast surgery.


3 Responses to “Ethnic Rhinoplasty: Enhancing the Natural Beauty of the Nose”

  1. Steven says:

    Interesting way of thinking about rhinoplasty Dr. Chike-Obi. I never really considered the effect ethnicity has. Glad to hear that there is an emphasis on maintaining ethnic traits.

  2. Montaña says:

    I’m glad to hear that you guys are focused on keeping some of the ethnic traits for your patients. I’m all for enhancing, not changing who you are!

  3. Thea says:

    Great post on ethnic rhinoplasty, i think its great that your focused on patients keeping their ethnic traits.

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