African American Rhinoplasty

African American rhinoplasty refers to nasal surgery that is tailored to improve the appearance and/or function of the nose while respecting typical characteristics of individuals of African descent. Although the specific motivations for treatment are unique to every person, some of the most common goals and aesthetic preferences among African American rhinoplasty patients include:

  • Adjusting the nasal bridge – Some individuals desire to narrow the nasal bridge to achieve better nasal-facial balance.
  • Heightening the nose – Many patients want to raise the nasal ridge to add height to a “flattened” nose.
  • Refining the nasal tip – Several individuals wish to enhance the definition of the nasal tip for improved projection.
  • Narrowing the nostrils – Some patients seek to decrease the base and width of the nostrils to reduce a “flaring” appearance.
  • Resolving nasal breathing issues – Certain individuals aim to correct a deviated septum and/or other structural concerns to enhance nasal breathing.

Of course, these are just a few of many reasons African Americans seek rhinoplasty. Africa is a large continent with numerous subregions and countries, which means not every person with African heritage will have the same nasal characteristics and/or desires. To account for this, Fort Worth plastic surgeon Jon Kurkjian, MD utilizes VECTRA® 3D imaging during rhinoplasty consultations. This advanced technology allows you to point out specific concerns you have with your nose on a chairside monitor displaying a three-dimensional picture of your face. Dr. Kurkjian can then make digital modifications to your nose to show you what can realistically be achieved based on your unique needs and goals. Along with providing you a visual representation of your potential final outcome, VECTRA® 3D imaging helps to ensure both you and Dr. Kurkjian are on exactly the same page in regard to your treatment, ultimately offering peace of mind about your end results.

In regard to the actual treatment aspect of rhinoplasty for African American patients, many considerations are taken into account, one of which is skin thickness. Oftentimes, individuals of African descent have relatively thick skin, which typically requires both surgical and non-surgical care in order to attain an ideal outcome. In these instances, Dr. Kurkjian will usually advise patients to utilize medical-grade skin care products prior to and following their procedure, and he will generally employ extensive thinning (or “de-fattening”) methods underneath the skin during surgery. When techniques such as these are not utilized, modifications made to the underlying structure of the nose may not be apparent after treatment, potentially resulting in little to no visible nasal enhancement.

Another technique commonly employed during African American rhinoplasty is diced cartilage fascia grafting, which is utilized to raise the nasal bridge so that the nose appears taller—and therefore narrower—on the face. To do this, Dr. Kurkjian takes a layer of deep temporal fascia from the scalp or mastoid fascia from behind the ear, and uses it to wrap small pieces of cartilage to create a graft that is carefully placed on top of the nose to heighten the profile. Since this natural “implant” is composed of the patient’s own tissues, there is a significantly reduced risk of infection in comparison to silicone or silastic implants—the latter of which has high rates of both infection and malposition.

Also to help narrow the nose for African American rhinoplasty patients, Dr. Kurkjian commonly thins the nasal bones (known as osteotomy), as well as performs alar base reductions to make the nostrils smaller. Lastly, tip grafting is often required to help enhance the contour of the nasal tip, which involves placing a piece of cartilage—like a shield graft—on top of the native tip cartilage in order to give it more shape and improved projection.

Ultimately, and despite what techniques or enhancements are deemed “typical” or “common” for African American rhinoplasty, Dr. Kurkjian always customizes treatment to meet the personal needs and aesthetic desires of the individual. His goal is to ensure you achieve a completely natural-looking, optimally functioning nose that you are one hundred percent pleased with—all while respecting and preserving the unique characteristics of your heritage.

Learn More About Rhinoplasty

For information on what to expect during recovery, how much treatment typically costs, and more, please visit our main webpage dedicated to rhinoplasty. If you would like additional details, or for answers to any questions you may have, please do not hesitate to contact us today to book a consultation with Dr. Kurkjian.

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