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written by Dr. Harris
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The African Diaspora is the movement of people of African descent throughout the world via historic migration, slavery and most recently immigration. I list below the most common categories of patients of African descent who present to my office for Rhinoplasty.
• Multi-ethnic descendants of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade born and raised in the United States
• Immigrants of African and Caribbean countries now residing in the United States
• Native born America Children of an African or Caribbean immigrant.
Racial admixture in the African American population has resulted in a diverse array of nasal beauty. Psychosocial impressions of ethnic identity may be quite different for a Nigerian patient who immigrated by choice to the United States versus the patient born and raised in America with remote African ancestry originating from the transatlantic slave trade. My prospective Rhinoplasty patients of African descent hold preservation of ethnic identity in high regard as they seek to enhance facial attractiveness.
When we look to understand nasal beauty in African American patients, it is important to appreciate the role of multicultural ancestry. Nasal features frequently reflect mixed ethnic heritage of African, European, Native American and Latino descent.
Rhinoplasty is widely accepted as being one of the most technically challenging plastic surgery operations. When it comes to African American Rhinoplasty, technical expertise is not the most significant battle to overcome in achieving a favorable aesthetic outcome. Techniques can be taught. More challenging is the ability to appreciate aesthetic limitations related to nasal anatomy in African American patients and developing an aesthetic appreciation for African American beauty.
In African American patients, overly dramatic changes more than often equate with poor aesthetic outcomes. Less is More.
A wide nose (in and of itself) is not unattractive. However, it can be made unattractive by surgically combining wide features with overly narrow features, creating a perception of imbalance. The most tell-tale sign of a poor aesthetic outcome in African American patients is excessively narrowed nostrils.
CONSULTATION – During the consultation process, I give each patient a Q-tip to point out areas of concern. This exercise encourages specificity in identifying the desired changes. I review the anatomy of the nose outlining the anatomical components of the upper , middle, and lower compartments of the nose. Quite often, I use Vectra 3-D imaging to simulate surgery in the office. This technology allows my patients and I to create an aesthetic roadmap together ensuring that we are both on the same page with regards to expected results.
TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS: I perform both open and closed Rhinoplasty. I favor the open approach in patients with thick skin. In my hands, it allows for optimal visualization of the underlying anatomy and the ability to precisely place structural graft material when necessary. I am quite sensitive to the fact that African American patients are concerned with scarring. With meticulous wound closure, the incision is undetectable, see results below.
|Before (Open Rhinoplasty)||After(Open Rhinoplasty)|
For the most part, my African American patients (seeking Rhinoplasty) are looking to direct attention away from the nose . . . So that it fades a bit into the background allowing more focus on the eyes and glowing skin. When it's all said and done . . . Independent of ethnicity, my patients want to look like themselves, BUT BETTER!