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Ethnic Considerations for Rhinoplasty

Trends in Diversity and Ethnicity in the United States

Recently a slide from the recent American Academy of Facial Plastics conference surfaced in my inbox.  The slide was titled, “The Changing Face of America.”  The slide made several points.

  1. The cultural landscape of America is changing.
  2. There is an increase in non-Caucasian plastic surgery patients.
  3. There is an increase in non-Caucasian rhinoplasty patients.
  4. It is important to take into account the cultural perspectives of the patient, and also to disregard stereotypical ethnic norms.

Changing our practice philosophy for plastic surgery

Upon receiving this slide, my patient coordinator immediately said, “Dr. Athre, this slide is saying exactly what you have been telling patients for years.”  I thought about this and nodded in agreement.  A few days later, I was flying back into Houston through the international airport and I saw a sign proudly proudly declaring that Houston was the most diverse city in the US.

So what makes culturally and ethnically sensitive plastic surgery so special.  Why is it different?  Why do we now have a tag on RealSelf for ethnic rhinoplasty?  What ethnic background does a patient exhibit?  What makes me think that?  Cheek bones, eyelids? 

Ethnic differences affecting the plastic surgery game plan

Once this has been determined, and the patient has also stated what they looking to correct, a surgical game plan can be created.  When we attempt to customize surgery for the ethnic nuances of a patient, we must first assess the patient objectively and answer all of these questions.

The surgical game plan should account for those nuances that make that person unique, and not aim to destroy those entities.  The next thing that the surgical game plan should encompass are the actual anatomical ethnic differences.  An example of this happens in Latina rhinoplasty.  Rhinoplasty really is a game between the cartilage structure and the skin envelope.  Latinas usually have softer cartilage than their Caucasian peers, and thicker skin.  Hence, any surgical plan has to account for these tiny differences.

Results of ethnic rhinoplasty and plastic surgery

All of the above can be summarized in the following.  Each one of us have very special characteristics in how we look that defines us.  You hear people say…”My Italian nose…my dad’s chin…”. I look at myself as a culturally responsible plastic surgeon.  I have specialized in ethnic plastic surgery from day one because I truly believe that the world really is getting smaller.  We are lucky to be living in Houston with every cultural background from every corner of Earth represented.  It is my responsibility to respect and preserve these cultural nuances in my efforts to enhance beauty.  #Athrefacialplastics #Houstonrhinoplasty #houston

An example of ethnic latina rhinoplasty.  The patient shown still looks like herself and is very happy with the outcome.  She managed to remove a small dorsal hump but maintained her own facial characteristics.  Over-scooping her nose would have given her an over-Caucasian result, which would not have looked right on this patient.


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Athré Facial Plastics offers a wide range of facial plastic surgery options and non-surgical cosmetic and skincare treatments. Find the right one for you by contacting our office at (281) 557-3223 or by clicking the button below to request a virtual consultation.

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Dr. Athré is one of the few cosmetic and reconstructive surgeons in Houston who is a double board-certified Facial Plastic Surgeon, certified in Otolaryngology, Head/Neck Surgery, and Facial Plastic Surgery.

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