Nasal Skin and Soft Tissue Thickness Variation Among Differing Races and Ethnicities: An Objective Radiographic Analysis

Facial Plast Surg Aesthet Med. 2020 May/Jun;22(3):188-194. doi: 10.1089/fpsam.2019.0008. Epub 2020 Mar 26.


Importance: Nasal skin and soft tissue envelope (SSTE) thickness has considerable effects on procedural planning and postoperative outcomes in rhinoplasty surgery. Objective understanding of relative SSTE thickness in patients is essential to optimal outcomes in rhinoplasty, and knowledge of its variation by demographic group is of aid to surgeons. Objective: To measure and compare nasal SSTE thickness across different races and nasal subsites and to determine whether objective variability exists for these parameters. Design, Setting, Participants: Retrospective cross-sectional radiographic analysis was carried out on 200 adult patients, without nasal deformity, presenting to an academic otolaryngology clinic at a tertiary care academic referral center. Blinded evaluators measured nasal SSTE thickness at six sites on maxillofacial computed tomography (CT) scans and comparisons were made based on patient-reported race/ethnicity categories available in the electronic medical record. Intervention: N/A Main Outcomes and Measures: Nasal SSTE thickness was measured at six predefined anatomic sites using high-resolution CT imaging. Statistical comparisons between races/ethnicities were made based on these measurements. Results: Mean age of patients was 48.8 years, and 47% were male. Nasal SSTE showed thicker soft tissue at the sellion in Latin American (LA; mean (SD) 6.1 (1.8) mm) and white (5.8 (1.8) mm) patients vs. African American (AfA) and Asian American (AsA) patients. The supratip was thicker in AfA patients (5.2 (1.3) mm) vs. all other races. The tip SSTE was thinner in white patients (2.4 (0.7) mm) vs. all other races. Composite nasal SSTE thickness was thinner in AsA patients (3.22 (0.8) mm) relative to AfA and LA patients. Conclusions and Relevance: SSTE thickness influences surgical planning and postoperative outcomes in rhinoplasty patients. This study supports varied thickness of the nasal SSTE among patients of different races. These data are foundational in providing a framework for developing treatment strategies specific to the SSTE properties of a multicultural patient population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biometry
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nose / diagnostic imaging*
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rhinoplasty
  • Skin / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*