The arrhinias: Proboscis lateralis literature review and surgical update

J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2019 Sep;47(9):1410-1413. doi: 10.1016/j.jcms.2018.12.013. Epub 2018 Dec 27.


Proboscis lateralis (PL) is a rare malformation, reported for the first time in 1861 by Forster in his monograph on congenital malformations of the human body. The abnormal side of the nose is represented by a tube-like rudimentary nasal structure, attached at any point along the embryonic fusion line between the anterior maxilla and the frontonasal processes. As clefts of the lip (and alveolus) are bilateral or unilateral, an arrhinia can be bilateral (total) or unilateral. In this case it is a 'hemi-arrhinia' (or heminasal agenesis. The arrhinias represent three groups of anomalies, each with different levels of clinical severity, some involving association with the labio-palatal cleft or agenesia of the premaxilla (1). In PL the nasal cavity on the affected side is replaced by a tubular appendage located off-center from the midline of the face, arising commonly from the medial aspect of the roof of the orbit (2). It is usually associated with heminasal aplasia or hypoplasia, microphthalmia, and - less commonly - with midline clefting. Associated brain and cranial vault anomalies are seen in 19% of these patients. PL is usually unilateral, with very few symmetrical/bilateral cases being reported (3). Morpho-aesthetic and psychological problems are frequent concerns for the patients and their families. In this study, the authors describe a clinical case and the chosen surgical technique, as well as reviewing the alternative techniques present in the literature.

Keywords: Arrhinia; Proboscis lateralis; Reconstruction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cleft Palate
  • Congenital Abnormalities
  • Esthetics, Dental
  • Humans
  • Nose / abnormalities
  • Nose Diseases*

Supplementary concepts

  • Arrhinia