Ethnic Nose Surgery

Common nose traits and procedures by ethnicity

Within each ethnic group there is a rich diversity of physical traits and facial shapes. There are also four common nose conditions or characteristics that lead patients to consider rhinoplasty.

Bulbous tip: The end of the nose is large and fleshy.
Flat or broad tip: The internal cartilages that creates the external appearance of the tip are splayed too far apart, leading to a wide tip.
Wide, narrow, or humped bridge: The bridge the nose is disproportionately large, narrow, or bumpy.

Breathing problems: Structural issues such as a deviated septum and/or a droopy tip can make it difficult to breathe.
African American

Nose characteristics: Weak internal structures combined with thick skin tend to create a less-defined tip of the nose that appears under-projected (broad and/or flat).
Procedures: Augmentation, projection.
What to expect: We can’t decrease skin thickness, so we work around that by increasing the projection of the rest of the nose and creating new angles and definitions to balance the overall shape. It’s an optical illusion that produces satisfying results without drastically changing the sensitive tissue in the tip of the nose.

Asian, Pacific Islander, or Native American

Nose characteristics: Thick skin, with a bridge that is often under-projected leads to both the bridge and the tip appearing wide and flat. Many have visible angles and definition at the tip of the nose.
Procedures: Augmentation, projection.
What to expect: By increasing the projection of the nose, we can create a more balanced look, with a gentle slope from forehead to tip rather than a flat bridge and flat tip.

Middle Eastern

Nose characteristics: Thick skin; over-projected; bulbous tip of the nose that complicates breathing, which is often paired with deviated septum – commonly seen in individuals with lineage from the Gulf Region of the Middle East. During maturation from child to adult, the skin of the nose does not expand as fast as the internal cartilages and bones, causing buckling of the septum (the middle wall of the nose). This leads to significant breathing difficulties.
Procedures: Augmentation, reduction.
What to expect: If the nose is small, we can project it to balance it out. However, if the nose is large, with a prominent bridge and tip, we must reduce it by removing cartilage and/or bone, then coordinate the proportions of all the features. However, the reduction often must be conservative because excessive reduction will lead to collapse of the nose and breathing difficulties.


Nose characteristics: Similar to Caucasians, Hispanic patients have a range of nasal features. Skin may be thin (Castillian/Spanish) or thick (especially in Mestizo patients with European and Native American lineage). Many have a wide bridge and bulbous tip, creating a flat, under-projected look.
Procedures: Augmentation, projection.
What to expect: Building up the less projected areas of the nose and changing the angles/definition of the tip of the nose can result in a more balanced, proportional look.

Recovery from rhinoplasty surgery surgery

Your recovery experience will depend on the extent of your procedure. Bruising and swelling of the face is common, and most patients return to normal activities within two to three weeks.

Most patients will not see a drastic change in the total size of their nose if measured in actual distances, but the improvement in looks is often dramatic. The subtleties of ethnic rhinoplasty create different angles and proportions, de-emphasizing the areas of your nose you disliked.

Before ethnic rhinoplasty , we take time to discuss your goals and set realistic expectations. We want you to be satisfied, and a big part of that involves understanding what’s possible and what to expect. Your facial features represent your cultural heritage. We can help you achieve a look that meets – or even exceeds – your expectations, but ultimately we want you to feel comfortable in your own skin.

Seattle facial plastic surgeon Dr. William Portuese

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