African American Ethnic Rhinoplasty: candidates, pros and cons

Part 2: African American ethnic rhinoplasty
Welcome to the second part of our guide on ethnic rhinoplasty.
We will discuss here what is African American ethnic rhinoplasty.

This is the chapter for you if you’re interested in African American Ethnic Rhinoplasty. Undoubtedly different nose shapes and nasal structures require specific surgical approaches and a patient-specific approach. And this is why ethnic rhinoplasty is so important.  

African American rhinoplasty is the practice of improving the nose shape with characteristics and challenges typical of the African American population. For this very reason, choosing the right surgical approach results in the best aesthetic outcomes. People of African American descent would like to keep their ethnic identity. That is the main purpose of ethnic rhinoplasty.

In this article, we will explain all the details of this challenging surgical procedure. Let’s start with the first question!

What makes African American Rhinoplasty unique?

So, what’s an African American Rhinoplasty? An African American rhinoplasty, also called African American nose job or in layman terms “nose job for black people”, is the practice of improving the nose shape through a rhinoplasty for African American or black patients. This type of operation keeps in mind their unique features and is personalized according to them. This is ideal for people who would like to keep their ethnic identity. That is the main purpose of ethnic rhinoplasty.

Traditional nose surgery is not always the ideal surgical option for African American noses. For this purpose, there is African American rhinoplasty. The major goal of African American rhinoplasty is to preserve distinctive features while improving the nasal structure. The rhinoplasty surgeon uses specific surgical techniques to make the changes. These techniques make African American nose surgery a specialized branch of rhinoplasty. The definition of beauty is different for each individual and choosing the right approach boosts this beauty. 

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Who is a good candidate for African American nose surgery?

People of African or African American roots are the target group to benefit from this specialized rhinoplasty branch. If you’re wondering whether you are an eligible candidate for an African American, we can help you find out. In order to be a possible candidate for African American nose surgery, you should meet the following criteria:

  • Seeking improvement:
    People who want to improve their appearance by addressing their nose shape concerns are possible candidates for this surgical procedure. This can include people who have a wide, or bulbous nasal tip, or those who have a deviated septum that affects their breathing or appearance.
  • Realistic expectations:
    It is important to have idealistic expectations to understand why a certain nose shape is not suitable for you. It can be because this specific nose form is in great contrast with your facial balance and racial identity. Another reason can be surgical restrictions and limitations due to unique nasal features.
  • Mental and physical health:
    One important factor for eligibility is overall health. The surgeon should know the patient’s whole medical history and the medications they use. The person should be in a healthy state of mind to think and decide wisely.
  • Age:
    For nose surgery, nasal growth should be completed. This age differs between genders. Female patients should be 16 years old or older. Male rhinoplasty patients should be at least 18 years old.
  • Smoking:
    The patient should not smoke or is willing to quit smoking at least two weeks before the operation. Smoking interferes with blood flow. This can cause post-operative complications such as necrosis.

Features of African American nose and surgical approaches

Like each ethnicity, people with African American roots have unique facial features that distinguish them from other races. African American rhinoplasty is a challenging field of surgery that requires high levels of knowledge and experience. Improvement in the African American nose appearance can not be achieved through typical cosmetic surgery techniques. Knowing the distinctive features of an African American nose makes it easier to understand the process and to decide on the right surgical approaches.

Nose partsCharacteristics
Nasal bone and nasal cartilageShort nasal bone
Nasal bridgeLow dorsum, flat in the profile view
Nasal tipPoor defined, bulbous, and droopy nose tip
Alar baseWide alar flaring
SkinThick skin texture

So let’s learn about these specific features and surgical approaches!

Nasal bone and cartilage

The nasal bone is lower and shorter in the African American population. This short nasal bone is not sufficient to support the nasal wall. For more strength and support, further grafts might be required. This prevents future collapse of the nasal structures. The cartilage also requires more support.

Nasal bridge

The bridge of the nose is low. Despite the aesthetic concerns, this low nasal bridge can also cause breathing problems. The nose is flat from the profile view. In the front view, the nose seems wide, and the length of the nose is short. Some patients of African American heritage have a hump on their dorsum. People of African American descent have various degrees of septal deviation and associated breathing problems. Another reason for breathing problems in African American patients is large turbinates.

Nasal tip

The tip of the nose is droopy downward and ill-defined. The nasal tip in African American patients is wide and under-projected. The nose in African American population looks bulbous.

Alar base

The base of the nose in people of African American descent is wide. The majority of these patients have wide nostrils and alar flaring.


In African American rhinoplasty, the skin of the nose can play a role in the surgical outcome. African American patients generally have thicker and less elastic nose skin, which can make it more challenging to perform the surgery and achieve the desired results.

African American rhinoplasty patients value their ethnic heritage and seek to improve the appearance of their noses without ruining their ancestral identity. African American ethnic rhinoplasty is a special field to meet all these aesthetic goals. The surgeons carry out the procedure considering every single detail and the patient’s aesthetic requirements.

Challenges of African American Ethnic Rhinoplasty

Based on the unique ethnic features, the surgeon and the patient can face several challenges throughout the whole process. In-depth consultations with the surgeon result in better preparation and fewer complications. Some of the most common challenges African American people can encounter are:

  • Thick nasal skin
  • Thin and weak cartilage vault
  • Meticulous modification
  • Swelling
  • Preserving the ethnic heritage

But how can each one of them be a challenge? Let’s dive into the details!

Thick nasal skin

Thick skin on the nose is a prime suspect for the poor definition of the nasal tip. Thick skin texture can cause scarring after the operation. The surgeon can prevent scarring by choosing a closed rhinoplasty technique. In this surgical approach, all the incisions are made inside the nose. Consequently, there will be no visible scars.

Thin and weak cartilage vault

The cartilage in the African American nose is not strong enough to support the tip stability. This is why the nasal tip is poorly defined. Cartilage grafts or implants can gain strength to the cartilaginous framework. If there is adequate nasal septal cartilage, they can use it for grafting. If not, they borrow cartilage from the ear or ribs.

Meticulous modification

Surgeons should avoid overcorrecting an African American nose. Correction of an African American nose is usually done to create a Caucasian nasal shape. This greatly goes against facial harmony and destroys their specific racial features. Executing the correct surgical procedure gives the natural-looking results the patients desire. An experienced African American rhinoplasty surgeon carries out the procedure using the proper techniques.


Swelling usually subsides within 2 weeks of the surgery. Thicker skin in Black-skinned patients can elongate the swelling period. It Is important to follow the post-op instructions precisely to get the desired outcome as soon as possible. Smoking is another factor that delays healing and swelling. Patients should quit smoking for at least one month after the operation.

Preserving the ethnic heritage

People who undergo ethnic nose jobs value their racial identity. African American patients are no exception. They would like to boost their racial beauty by improving their nose shapes. But this is no easy task. That’s why you should choose your surgeon wisely and with prior research. A special African American ethnic rhinoplasty surgeon has the deep knowledge to perform particular cosmetic procedures.


-Stucker FJ, Lian T, Sanders K. African American rhinoplasty. Facial Plast Surg Clin North Am. 2005;13(1):65-72. doi:10.1016/j.fsc.2004.04.010 link

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