Is it better to have thick or thin skin for a Rhinoplasty? (photos)

Doctor Answers 12

Is thick skin or thin skin better for rhinoplasty?

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The answer to your question depends on what you mean by better.  Having thin skin will allow the changes performed under the skin, meaning changes to your cartilage and bone, to be more readily visible. However, it will also show asymmetries and irregularities more easily. For someone with thin skin, almost any modification yields an obvious change. 

Those with thick skin have the opposite.  Subtle modifications may not show at all due to the thick overlying tissue.  Even dramatic changes to the bone and cartilage may only yield a subtle result at times. 

Of course all of this depends on the anatomy of the specific person's nose since skin is just one of many factors.  

I recommend that you see a plastic surgeon for an evaluation so that you know what is and is not possible for you. 

Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Skin Thickness and Rhinoplasty

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Thick and thin skins have advantages and disadvantages during rhinoplasty. In general, skin is like a cover over the nasal structures like a cover. Too thin of a skin is like a sheet will show all the definitions including imperfections underneath the way a sheet covering a person will show the definition of that individual's body. A thick skin is like a thick blanket that does not show definition of nasal tissue underneath. Medium thinness skin is ideal for rhinoplasty. 

Kevin Sadati, DO
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 224 reviews

Thick Skin vs Thin Skin in Rhinoplasty

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When it comes to Rhinoplasty surgery, thinner skin has the advantage of showing nasal definition better and have swelling resolve faster after the surgery.  The disadvantage of thinner skin is that it is more likely to show the most minor imperfection.  Thicker skin on the other hand, does not show minor imperfections as much, but it has the disadvantage of taking a longer time for complete resolution of swelling and also may camouflage the precision with which the nose was refined beneath the thicker skin. Medium thickness skin falls somewhere in between in all categories. Dr. B.

Ramin Behmand, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Thicker vs. thinner skin for best rhinoplasty results

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There is not a definitive answer for your question. The answer depends on the goal you are trying to achieve with your nose. It matters if the main purpose with surgery is to remove a hump, change the bridge of the nose, narrow the bridge, or refine and narrow the tip. Any tip work will be effected by the skin thickness. Any bridge work will not. 

The pros of having thinner skin is that the results will show more easily after surgery since what is done during surgery is sculpting the cartilage framework underneath to give your nose a new shape. That same advantage can also be a disadvantage because EVERYTHING is readily noticeable. So minor imperfections can be seen even if the surgeon did the most detailed job possible. The pros of having thicker skin are just the opposite. Thicker skin can hide imperfections but it will also hide your result. Narrowing and refining the tip is much harder with thicker skin.

Kristina Tansavatdi, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Thick or thin skin for rhinoplasty

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Great question!  There are advantages and disadvantages of thick and thin skin - however this is genetic and there is not much the surgeon can do to alter this.  During a rhinoplasty, the bones and cartilages are altered to create an improved framework.  Thicker skin tend to hide some of the framework, but it also hides any tiny imperfections.  The surgeon can be more aggressive with sculpting the framework.  Thinner skin you tend to see more improvement of the framework, but also tend to notice more of the tiny imperfections.  The surgeon will need to be more careful with sculpting the framework.  But again, there is nothing you or the surgeon can do to alter this component, but there are little tweaks that can be performed with each skin type to improve the appearance.

Best of luck and hope this information helps!

- Dr. Roger Tsai

Roger Tsai, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Thicker than nasal skin for rhinoplasty. Which is better?

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The answer is it is best to avoid either extreme if possible.  Thicker skin is less likely to shrink around a new contour and thin skin is more likely to show any irregularities that occur during the healing process.  As plastic surgeons we are trained to evaluate the skin as we design our surgical plan and carry it out.  It is also important for patients to have an understanding of the limits of having either extreme.  Best wishes.

Jon A Perlman M.D., FACS
Diplomate, American Board of Plastic Surgery
Member, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS)
Beverly Hills, California

Jon A. Perlman, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Skin thickness and rhinoplasty results

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Both thick and thin skin types have their advantages when it comes to rhinoplasty - it depends on the clinical situation. Thicker nasal skin will conceal some of the anatomic changes in the nasal tip that rhinoplasty surgeons work so carefully to create. On the other hand, very thin nasal skin will show any and all imbalances and asymmetries of a nose that has been operated upon. 

Is it better to have thick or thin skin for a Rhinoplasty

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Skin thickness is not something you can control or change significantly. in general, the thinner the skin, the greater the ability to make things appear more delicate and allow more definition to show.

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Thick skin versus versus thin skin for rhinoplasty

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Almost everyone has Some variability in the thickness of skin on each individual nose. The bridge line of the nose tends to have thinner skin, while the tip tends to have thick/ sebaceous skin. When patients have thin skin in the nose, every little nuance can show through. When patients have thick skin in  the tip of the nose, this blunts all the changes that were made surgically on the nasal tip cartilages.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Better Rhinoplasty Results with Thick Skin or Thin Skin

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Patient with thin skin can achieve  better tip definition but carefully select an experienced surgeon because any irregularities of the underlying cartilage will be more visible. 

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 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.