Rhinophyma

Background

Rhinophyma is an overgrowth of the sweat (sebaceous) glands of the skin on the surface and tip of the nose. This results in an overgrowth of the surface of the nose and a bumpy or cobblestone surface of the skin on the nose. This is similar, though much worse, than the skin condition known as rosacea. It is more common later in life from age 50 and onwards, and is much more common in men than women. While it has been associated in popular culture with alcohol consumption, it actually has no relation to alcohol at all.

Benefits

The nose is reshaped immediately and the procedure results in a dramatic improvement in shape of the nose and quality of the skin on the nose.

The Procedure

Removing the excess tissue can usually be done under local anesthesia only. The excess tissue is partially excised, and also reduced using a technique called dermabrasion, which involves gradually abrading the surface and reshaping the nose. The procedure takes about 45 minutes.

Recovery

The skin on the surface of the nose must heal, similar to a scrape or a minor burn. It takes about 2-3 weeks for the surface to heal. The tissue on the surface of the nose is often slightly red at first due to the inflammation of healing, but settles down and assumes a normal color by about 6 months after the procedure.

Risks

As with any surgical procedure there are minor risks of bleeding or infection. It is often not possible to completely correct the shape, and there may be minor asymmetry. Healing can be delayed and take more time, which may result in slightly more noticeable scar formation. It is possible, though not likely, that the overgrowth can recur. There are no good studies to estimate the actual risk of this occurring.

Alternatives

Non-surgical options include isotretinoin or tetracycline. These are medications that should be administered by a dermatologist.

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