I saw an African-American patient today for a Rhinoplasty consultation and discussed with her the unique characteristics of her nose. In this particular ethnicity, we frequently have the goals of the increasing the height of the nose, improving definition of the nasal tip, and narrowing the nostrils, along with bringing in the sides of the nose (the nasal bones). Certainly, all patients are unique because of their heritage and therefore we ask all patients first what bothers them about their nose. As is usually the case, this patient wished to preserve her ethnicity, but yet gain some refinement, by raising the dorsum or top part/bridge of the nose, narrowing the tip and narrowing the nostrils conservatively. We used our three-dimensional imaging system (VECTRA) to give her a truly 360 degree view of her nose and then the proposed changes that would result from addressing her areas of concern. I think it is very important to have a discussion with the patient through use of imaging in order to arrive at reasonable goals and to ensure that our plan will manage her unique concerns. I am particularly sensitive to unique characteristics of “ethnic” noses and faces because my wife is of Asian (Filipino) descent and I have studied the associated differences in nasal and facial structures extensively.
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