Ethnic (Non-Caucasian) Rhinoplasty

Anand D. Patel, MD
Article by
Austin Facial Plastic Surgeon

Cosmetic nasal surgery in this country has traditionally been targeted towards Caucasians, however, continuing changes in ethnic and socioeconomic patterns is making this a trend of the past. A constant influx from neighboring countries south of the border and beyond, as well as the successes of first and second generation Americans, have contributed to a large, thriving ethnic population. In some border states such as Texas, Hispanic Americans may represent the majority within a matter of a few decades. In Austin, both the Hispanic and Asian populations have grown significantly over the past ten years, and there is no sign of slowing down.

While facial plastic surgery abroad is well-established in many cultures, it is only in the past few decades that “ethnic rhinoplasty” has become a more commonplace procedure in the US. According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 83% of facial plastic surgeons in this country believe that facial plastic surgery will continue to grow in ethnic populations, and rhinoplasty is the most popular procedure requested by Hispanic and African Americans. Nose reshaping in an ethnic population is not a simple matter of applying the same rules that are used for Caucasian noses. For example, the Hispanic American nose is a mix of Native American, European, and African origins, with varying patterns of migration and interracial mixing. Add to this the cultural differences in the concept of beauty, and it is no surprise that surgical philosophy has evolved from imitating canons that originated from ancient Greece to appreciating and preserving modern ethnic differences.

A critical component is establishing a common goal through doctor-patient communication and the use of technology, such as photographic morphing. While there is a laundry list of maneuvers commonly used in different ethnic noses, every nose is unique and requires a personal touch to balance harmonious changes with the preservation of ethnicity. The underlying structure of the nose as well as the thickness and quality of the overlying skin varies across ethnic groups, and so a detailed understanding of this anatomy is needed before one can make the right surgical changes. Make sure you trust your nose to a facial specialist who appreciates ethnic preservation.