“Our goal in ethnic rhinoplasty is to enhance the individual beauty of each person without changing or losing the uniqueness of that person’s ethnicity.”
-- Dr. Kofi Boahene
Nothing has a greater impact on how a person looks than the size and shape of the nose. Because the nose is the most defining characteristic of the face, a slight alteration can greatly improve one's appearance. Rhinoplasty—also called nose reshaping, nose job, or nasal surgery—involves the reconstruction and shaping of the bone and cartilage to enhance the nose and/or improve breathing through the nose.
The techniques taught to plastic surgeons for rhinoplasty do not always translate to the ethnic patient’s nose. Dr. Kofi Boahene, board-certified in both otolaryngology and facial plastic surgery, is a person of color and understands the unique differences presented by performing plastic surgery on ethnic patients. Dr. Patrick Byrne, Director of Facial Plastic Surgery, is a world renowned expert in rhinoplasty, including ethnic rhinoplasty.
Following are some of the challenges facing the facial plastic surgeon when performing surgery on a person of color. These help to illustrate why it is so critical to pick a facial specialist with a special interest in ethnic rhinoplasty.
- Tolerating scars: People of color tend not to tolerate scarring well. Therefore the surgeon must use scarless and hidden scar techniques when performing the surgery. These are the hallmarks of a very experienced facial plastic surgeon.
- Skin is prone to hyperpigmentation: Because of this, different techniques must be used when shaping the delicate skin around the nose.
- Different standards of beauty: When performing ethnic rhinoplasty, the surgeon must research the background of the individual to understand that person’s nuanced cultural understanding of beauty. Rhinoplasty is a delicate surgery, where a surgeon must think on his or her feet. Understanding that patient’s cultural norms will make the surgeon better prepared in the operating room.
Different tissue types: The African American patient, the Asian patient, and other ethnic backgrounds all differ also in the type of tissue they tend to have. Skin thickness, strength and shape of nasal cartilages, nostril size – these are all different depending upon the ethnic background and unique individual characteristics. This means that no two patients are alike. The same techniques are not used on everyone: it must address the individual.