Elevating Aesthetics

More and more African American patients are seeking nasal refinements to their noses to improve several facial features. In the past, changes to African American noses were deemed difficult since traditional reductive rhinoplasty techniques were ineffective. However, with advances in rhinoplasty, African Americans can now see greater changes that appear natural than ever before.

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Ethnic Rhinoplasty: African American Rhinoplasty

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Is African American Rhinoplasty Right for Me?

African American rhinoplasty is recommended for those who don’t like the appearance or functioning of their nose. Additionally, the best candidate for this surgery must be in good health, have reached an age where their growth has been completed, and have no history of smoking.

So what makes Dr. Shah’s methods different from traditional African American Rhinoplasty?

Experience in Ethnic Rhinoplasty

Dr. Shah has worked on ethnic rhinoplasty procedures and rhinoplasty for African Americans for over 10 years and has performed over 3000 rhinoplasty procedures. Working with so many patients has given him a unique advantage in performing rhinoplasty and revision rhinoplasty.

High Aesthetic Standards

Dr. Shah has patients from all industries, including modeling, TV, pageants, etc. Patients chose Dr. Shah in part because he is able to work with them to create unique and beautiful noses for their faces. Patients trust Dr. Shah because he is able to work with many different types of patients and tailor procedures that bring facial balance to people from middle eastern, Asian, and African American backgrounds.

Support to the Nose

Every nose is different, and many African American noses need support. Surgeons who are not able to support the nose will not be able to define the nasal tip. While some surgeons will use artificial implants, Dr. Shah does not take this sometimes dangerous shortcut. Dr. Shah only uses natural cartilage in the nose and does not use any artificial implants. He prefers the body’s natural cartilage because it makes the nose look more natural, and there is no possibility of injection and a much lower chance of infection. Dr. Shah normally uses cartilage from the inside of the nose (called the septum) but, in some cases, will use cartilage from either the ear or rib if more cartilage is needed. Very few surgeons are able to use rib cartilage, and Dr. Shah has been a pioneer in rib cartilage harvesting, having been the author of two sentinel studies.

Soft tissue reduction or Alar base reduction

Some African American patients will have prominent alar bases and excess skin on the nose. Dr. Shah utilizes several techniques for alar base reduction and removing the nasal skin for these patients.

He helps conceal the scars by either using internal techniques or hiding the incisions along the natural borders. Dr. Shah has written articles on alar base reduction in the scientific literature.

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What makes an African American nose different from another ethnicity?

African American noses have a wide range of shapes and sizes. Some geneticists have shown more genetic diversity in some African villages than in entire countries. Ethiopian noses look different than Nigerian noses, and every patient will have different ideas of what they want their nose to look like. African noses have increased diversity since many patients will have further genetic differences. Many patients will require support to the nose and surgeons need to understand advanced ethnic rhinoplasty techniques in order to provide consistent results. In addition, surgeons need to understand each patient’s unique perspective and tailor a nose for him or her.

Do African American patients have breathing issues commonly?

African American patients typically have breathing difficulties related to either the septum or the turbinate size.

The turbinates are located along the inside of the nose and swell and de-swell when inflamed; this can occur as a result of allergies. The septum is made of cartilage and bone, and when deviated, can cause obstruction of the nose.

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African American Rhinoplasty Techniques

The approach to African American Nose Job will be tailored to the desired outcome for each patient and the parts of the nose that need to be modified. Some of the common techniques performed to address the concerns of patients include:


Alarplasty is a specialized nose-reshaping technique that can effectively narrow the width of the nostrils. As many African American rhinoplasty patients have concerns related to their wide nostril size, alarplasty has become one of the more common requests.

With this procedure, no cartilage is changed since the nostrils are comprised solely of soft tissue; rather, simply, some of it is removed.

Tip Rhinoplasty

Various methods of rhinoplasty are available to modify, sharpen, or hoist the nasal tip. Many African Americans have feeble, weak cartilage at the point of their nose. Similar situations apply to many races; therefore, these persons may do better with processes involving cartilage transplants instead of trying to restore the current weak cartilage. Cartilage grafts can be harvested from the patient’s septum or ear and then added to the tip to alter its shape and provide additional support on the bridge of the nose.

Dorsum Surgery

African American rhinoplasty patients who are unhappy with the width of their nasal bridge can opt for a surgical procedure to reduce the size of the bone and cartilage found on the nose bridge. The NCBI suggests that this narrowing is achieved through lateral nasal osteotomies—a procedure in which a scalpel is used to make cuts into the cartilage on either side of the nasal bridge so that it can be reshaped and its width can be reduced. The level of reduction to the dorsum will depend on various factors, such as the patient’s nose width, what results they’re looking for, and how much cartilage needs to be removed. For some patients, minimal reshaping is required while others may require more extensive modifications, such as breaking and resetting the nasal and maxillary bones in order to achieve a significant narrowing of the dorsum’s width.

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African Rhinoplasty FAQ

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Does Dr. Shah have experience with African American noses?

Yes, Dr. Shah works with patients of many ethnic backgrounds, including African Americans, in nose surgery and all aspects of the face.

Where is Dr. Shah located?

His office is located in Chicago, IL, at 200 West Superior St., Suite 200.

Do I have to have anesthesia for a rhinoplasty?

Some types of ethnic rhinoplasty surgeries can be performed in the office, for example, surgeries for patients solely wanting an alar base reduction.

Will my nose be packed after surgery?

Typically, the nose is not packed after surgery, but every patient is different.

Can I raise my nasal bridge for surgery?

Yes, patients can raise their bridges using cartilage. Cartilage can come from the ear or rib or the inside of the nose, and the location of cartilage harvested will determine which location is best for you.

What does Dr. Shah do to minimize scars?

Scars can be minimized by paying close attention to meticulous suture closure. In addition, the post-procedure lasers can help decrease the appearance of the scars.

Can I go home the same day after African American rhinoplasty?

Yes, patients typically go home after a procedure as it is considered outpatient.

Does noninvasive rhinoplasty work for African American patients?

Noninvasive rhinoplasty can be an option for some patients who only want bridge elevation. Dr. Shah does not like permanent fillers, but longer-lasting fillers such as Juvederm Voluma can be used.

How do you get a smaller tip with African American rhinoplasty?

There are several important steps to getting a smaller tip-in African American rhinoplasty. First of all, supporting the nasal tip and adding firmness to the tip is important. In addition, many patients, especially those with flat noses, benefit from nasal tip projection. Finally, the reduction of soft tissues of the nose can help improve nasal tip definition.

How soon afterward will I see a difference?

Since many patients who are black have thicker skin, it may take up to a year to see the final result.

Is there anything that needs to be done post-procedure with African American rhinoplasty patients?

Many patients are advised to tape their noses at night. In addition, patients will often benefit from injections of steroids or other substances to reduce swelling.

About Us

If you are considering African American rhinoplasty, finding a qualified and experienced surgeon who can provide the best results is important. Dr. Shah has extensive experience performing rhinoplasty on African American patients and can help you achieve the desired look. If you would like to learn more about African American rhinoplasty or schedule a consultation with Dr. Shah, please contact his office today.

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