What Makes an African American Noses So Much Different from Other Noses?

I have been considering a nose job because I feel my nose is to wide and I having been reading alot about this. I read that African American Rhinoplastys should be done properly the first time because revisions are notorious from being very difficult. I also heard that African American noses can grow back after surgery, something about fatty cells in the nose that produce fat and make it bulbuos. I was just wondering if this only happens to African American patients or is that just for everyone?

Doctor Answers 5

African American Rhinoplasty

This is an interesting question!  Historically African American noses have been treated very differently with aggressive procedures aimed primarily at reducing the size of the nasal tip and nostrils.  Unfortunately, many of these rhinoplasties resulted in unnatural looking noses and caused some stigma against rhinoplasty in the African American community.

Fortunately, we have since learned that on the contrary, African American noses need to be augmented to add definition, not reduced.

In general African American noses have the following anatomic characteristics:
    1. Thicker skin
    2. Lower bony bridge
    3. Softer tip cartilage

The combination of thicker skin, lower bridges and softer cartilage can make the nose look wider or less defined.  The key however is to add structure to increase definition.  This can be done very well with Non-Surgical Rhinoplasty techniques.

Good luck in your search for information.

Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 111 reviews


Platyrrhine noses from Africa generally possess thick skin and rather weak cartilaginous support structures.  The nose is usually broad and the dorsum (bridge) is frequently shallow.  The nasal tip often has poor projection.  Therefore, you must carefully decide, with your Cosmetic Surgeon, which aspects of our own nose that you would like to change (hopefully for the better).  Best of Luck!

Robert Shumway, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

African American rhinoplasty.

The skin of African Americans and Asians and some Caucasians can be thick and difficult to show cartilage detail below the thick skin.  It does NOT grow back once properly removed.  These noses require an experienced rhinoplasty surgeon so choose wisely. 

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

African american nose

Every nose is different and each one requires a different "playbook" to achieve the goals of the various patients.  It is best to go for a consultation to be evaluated. Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

African American Rhinoplasty

That's a very good question, African American noses are quite different anatomically than caucasian noses. Some of the notable differences include a low and wide nasal bridge, weak and thin lower lateral cartilages (or tip cartilages), thick skin esp at the nasal tip, more subcutaneous fat in the tip contributing to bulbous tips and wide, flared nostrils. These differences make African American and Caucasian rhinoplasty completely different in surgical approach and desired cosmetic result. Fatty tissue in the tip does not grow back. If the tip fat is not properly removed, then the bulbous tip will remain. See more info on website link below.
Dr. S.

Oleh Slupchynskyj, MD, FACS
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 274 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.