Asian Rhinoplasty

The ENTific Centre


The Asian nose

The archetypal Asian nose discussed in this chapter is typified by the Asian Malay nose or the East Asian (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) type of nose. There is indeed a spectrum of these noses, with northerners e.g. from north China and Korea having higher dorsums compared to their Asian southerners with lower dorsums. The Asian nose primarily discussed here is typified by petiteness and flatness. The overall mid-facial bony components and nasal septum can be thought of as being "underdeveloped". Hence the radix tends to low with a low rhinion and low mid-third dorsal profile height. The shorter nasal septum with a less projected anterior septal angle results in a nasal tip that lacks projection. A less projected tip, in turn, is more rounded with less tip definition. There usually is also relatively thicker skin overlying the nasal tip and lobules. The ala basal width is also wider.

From the basal view, the nostrils of the Asian nostril appear more rounded compared to the tear-drop appearance of the Western nose. This is due to the lack of projection. The columella may appear short and retracted, lacking support from the caudal septum. Internally, the cartilaginous septum of the Asian nose is generally less generous which explains the deprojected tip; this smaller size will impact upon the availability of septal donor material too. The medial and lateral crura of the lower lateral cartilages are smaller, weaker and softer than Caucasian noses, and tend to have a more oblique to vertical lie. The upper lateral cartilages are similarly small in size too.

Overall the description of the Asian nose is one of petiteness and flatness. Asian clients seeking rhinoplasty therefore not surprisingly request for higher radixes and dorsums with more tip projection and narrower alar bases. The contemporary trend is to request for augmentation and tip projection whilst retaining their Asian ethnicity.

In a small sample study by the authors at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, nasal pictures of Chinese male and female individuals were evaluated to determine their aesthetic outcomes. These subjects with a group of independent local Chinese male and female judge observers, were requested to freely simulate with computer software, the nose they would wish to have. There was notable agreement and concordance on the final nasal profile simulated i.e. everyone had the same aesthetic endpoint. What this sample work demonstrated was, whilst all these Asian clients and peer judges preferred higher radixes and dorsums with greater tip projection, the measured parameters differed significantly from accepted Western aesthetic references (see Figure 1 - Graph of Asian aesthetics). This suggested that even though Asian individuals wanted a pointier and higher nose, they wanted to retain their "Asian" sense of aesthetics.

With this in mind, the following subchapters discuss in more detail the commoner techniques for Asian rhinoplasty surgery. The discussion below is not intended to be comprehensive due to surgeons' preferences, the wide availability of products and techniques. Readers should instead focus on the underlying principles to permit a more flexible practice of Asian rhinoplasty, as this field and product technology develops.

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