Analysis of the African American female nose

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2003 Feb;111(2):620-6; discussion 627-8. doi: 10.1097/01.PRS.0000042176.18118.99.


The African American nose has been broadly classified as ethnic yet it differs significantly in morphology from that of other ethnic groups with which it is categorized. The objectives of this study were to (1) establish an objective protocol for analysis of the African American female nose using anthropometric measurements, and (2) determine whether subjective subcategorization schemes are a reliable replacement for anthropometry. African American women (n = 107) between the ages of 18 and 30 years consented to participate in this study. Photographs and 14 standard anthropometric measurements were taken of the face and nasal region, including nose length, nose width, special upper face height, intercanthal distance, mouth width, nasal bridge inclination, nasal tip protrusion, ala thickness, nasal root width, nasal bridge length, tangential length of ala, length of columella, nasofrontal angle, and nasolabial angle. Nasal indices including nose width-nose height index, nasal tip protrusion-nose height index, and nasal tip protrusion-nasal width index were calculated. In addition, photographic analysis was performed to evaluate nostril shape, nasal base shape, and nasal dorsal height. Proportional relationships and subcategorization schemes were evaluated. A new method of nasal analysis for the African American woman uses the proportional relationships of the anthropometric measurements. Proportional relationships included a columellar to lobule ratio of 1.5:1, a nasolabial angle of 86 degrees, and an alar width to intercanthal distance ratio of 5:4. The nasal dorsal height classification scheme was the most reliable for subjective analysis. The degree of variability found within this group of young African American women is illustrated by the following indices and their respective ranges: nose width-nose height index mean, 79.7 (range, 57 to 102); nasal tip protrusion-nose height index mean, 33.8 (range, 23 to 46); and nasal tip protrusion-nose width index mean, 42.8 (range, 32 to 61). The guidelines provided are a baseline from which to begin analysis and evaluation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry / methods
  • Black People*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nose / anatomy & histology*
  • Reference Values
  • Rhinoplasty*