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Asian vs. Western Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasties are just as popular with Asians as with Western ethnic groups. The same unhappiness with appearance (crooked nose, dorsal hump, bulbous tips, etc) occur in Asians like in other races. In addition, many may also have trouble breathing and a rhinoplasty may be the answer to improve function. While the basic evaluation and techniques apply in Asians, there are some important differences to keep in mind if you’re considering a nose job.

Asian Noses Are Anatomically Different

The first difference relates to anatomy. Though there are variations across different Asian groups, generally Asian noses have less septal cartilage. Also, the cartilage present may be weaker than Caucasian noses. Tip cartilages can also be weaker than Western noses. Another common difference is many Asians have thicker nasal skin. This has a definite impact on how tip refinement works in Asians. Finally, many Asians have a low bridge or dorsum. This finding is similarly found in African ethnic groups. Today, more and more emphasis is placed on maintaining your ethnicity while improving your appearance. Though having a low dorsum or low bridge is normal for your ethnicity, there are some features that are felt to be attractive no matter what race you are. One of these universal features is having a strong bridge. Even in Asia, movie stars and celebrities have a strong bridge.

Asian Rhinoplasty Surgical Techniques

The second difference regarding Asian rhinoplasties follows from the anatomic differences. In other words, surgical techniques and strategies can vary a bit compared to Western rhinoplasties. There is usually less septal cartilage to work with in Asians. Since the same rule of maintaining at least 1-1.5 cm of septal support applies, that means many Asians may have less nasal cartilage available to achieve certain goals. This means Asians may have higher chance of requiring other cartilage sources. These include the ear cartilage and rib cartilage. Ear cartilage is readily available and may be enough to achieve your goals. But if more support is required, often one has to get rib cartilage. If rib cartilage is obtained from your chest, that exposes more surgical risks (such as injury to lungs and pneumothorax), often causes more significant postoperative pain, and creation of scar and risk of undesirable scar appearance. For young women, this scar may preclude you from wearing bikinis. The advantage of using your own cartilage is zero chance of rejection, much lower risk of infection. A reasonable alternative to using your own rib cartilage is to use a cadaver rib cartilage. The advantage here is avoidance of surgical risks. It’s also less painful and makes surgery quicker. The disadvantage of using cadaver rib cartilage is the very rare risk of disease transmission. Though the risk is present, it is extremely rare. Orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, and oral maxillofacial surgeons frequently use cadaver grafts for their work, without dangerous risks of disease transmission. While both your own rib cartilage and cadaver rib cartilage can warp and resorb, these risks may be a bit higher when using a cadaveric cartilage. Risk of warping can be minimized by using careful carving techniques—regardless of whether your own rib or a cadaveric rib is used.

Asian Nose Implants

Another difference with Asian rhinoplasties is higher tolerance for foreign implants. Silicone implants are almost never offered or used in Western rhinoplasties, but these are used frequently in Asians. The low risks of extrusions, infections, etc seen in Asia demonstrate how safe these implants are in Asian nose jobs. For some reason, Asian noses can tolerate these foreign implants much better than Western noses. One advantage of using an implant is the potential to remove the implant and reverse the change.

Since many Asian noses have thick skin, refining a nasal tip may be a bit more challenging. Thick skin makes it harder to create dramatic changes. Thinning the skin can help, but this must be done very cautiously or risk bad scarring and deformities that may be impossible to fix. One may have to use implants to push against the skin envelope.

Finding The Right Surgeon For Asian Rhinoplasty

Despite these difference, Asian rhinoplasties can be performed safely and good outcomes can be achieved. It’s important you see a board certified facial plastic or plastic surgeon with experience doing nose jobs, as well as understanding and appreciation of the Asian aesthetic goals. A comprehensive in office consultation is the first step. Here, you should expect to have all your questions answered fully. Computer image morphing software is a useful educational tool that can help your surgeon understand what your goals are.

For more information about San Antonio Asian rhinoplasty surgery, contact Dr. Kenneth Yu Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and his qualified team of experts. To schedule a consultation, please contact our Concierge Patient Coordinator at 210-876-6868.