In Asia, a beautiful nose is considered an intergral part of any facial enhancement. Asians have long coveted the more defined nose of our Western counterparts. In the past decades, there has been a surge in the number of rhinoplasties performed in Asia. In line with the increase demand, there has also been a corresponding increase in numbers of mishaps and botched ‘jobs’. Today, we speak to plastic surgeon Dr Tan Ying Chien，consultant plastic surgery from SW1 Clinic, which specializes in both non-invasive aesthetics as well as cosmetic surgery in Asia.
Can you tell us if there is a key difference in the Asian nose compared to the Caucasian nose?
The diversity of the continent of Asia consists of several races and ethnic groups. Thus the various nasal shapes and structure of Asian noses vary in height and width from the noses of the Indian subcontinent with their Caucasian nasal features in contrast with smaller East Asian type Korean – Chinese nose and the Asian Malay nose of south–east Asia.
Even among Asians, there is a spectrum, with northerners e.g. from north China and Korea having more prominent nasal bridge compared to lower nasal bridge of their Asian southerners, typified by petiteness and flatness.
Looking from the bottom up, the nostrils of the Asian nostril appear more rounded compared to the tear-drop appearance of the Western nose, projecting a wider nose.
The cartilages of Asian noses are smaller, weaker and softer than Caucasian noses, and tend to have a more oblique to vertical lie, creating the flatness effect. However, the overlying thick skin tissue of Asians noses makes them a better candidate for silicone implant.
It is no surprise that Asian clients seeking rhinoplasty therefore request for higher nasal bridge with more tip projection and narrower alar bases, whilst retaining the Asian ethnicity look. Taking into account the anatomic differences, this means that a surgery that works for the Caucasian may not be the most ideal one for the Asian nose.
What are the basic structures of the nose? Is it comprised mainly of bone or skin?
The nose is basically divided into three areas. The upper one third of the nose is made of nasal bones making it rigid and immobile. The bottom third of the nose is made of very flexible cartilage which makes up the nasal tip.
Are there different types of rhinoplasties available?
There are various techniques in Asian rhinoplasty and they may vary according to individual variations of the nose. However, almost Asian rhinoplasty encompasses at least one of the two:
- Augmentation rhinoplasty aimed to raise the bridge and/or tip of the nose, using an implant, the patient’s own cartilage (from the ear, nose or rib), or dermal fillers
- Refinements involving narrowing or modification of the alar or “wings” of the nose
In augmentation, what do surgeons use to raise the nose?
In Asian rhinoplasty, silicone implants are most commonly used. These implants come in various dimensions. Your surgeon will choose an implant best suited for you.
If someone do not wish to use an implant, are there other ways to augment the nose?
This approach may incorporate the ear and/or rib cartilages. Cartilage taken from the ear would be used for the tip of the nose to achieve a better result. This extra procedure leaves a small and inconspicuous scar over the back of the ear with no residual deformity.
The rib is harvested through an incision along the chest wall to remove the cartilage portion of the rib.
These are all permanent methods of rhinoplasties, are there any non-permanent techniques for those who want to give it a go to see how it would look?
Injectable fillers is an option to augment the nose in a quick, simple, lunchtime procedure. The results are transient, lasting between 6 to 9 months. Treatment is a 30-minute in-clinic procedure and includes a small injection of filler into the nose bridge to augment the area.
Asians often complain of a broad nose, what sort of surgical solutions can one seek?
Nose refinement aims to narrow the nose. This technique is beneficial for client with wide opening or flared nostrils aiming to refine the nose making it proportional to the rest of the facial feature.
Thank you, Dr Tan for the insightful discussion. With such a plethora of options, both surgical and non-surgical, enhancement of the nose is a very plausible option for many women out there.
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