‘Ethnic’ Nose Jobs: Surgical Breakthrough?

February 14, 2012  |  

You know a bad nose job when you see one—and that’s basically any that you recognize because the point of plastic surgery is not to look like you had work done but to enhance what you’ve already got. Plastic surgeons have apparently caught on to the fact that black people don’t want to come out of surgery with a snout that screams “I just had a nose job,” and they’ve begun specializing in what they call “ethnic rhinoplasty.”

“A lot of African Americans want to get their noses done, but due to the prominent stars that they have seen that have had bad rhinoplasty, they are very hesitant to do it,” Beverly Hills Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and rhinoplasty expert, Dr. Ashkan Ghavami, told theGrio. “They are especially very careful to get the nose done, because it is in the center of their face, and it is first thing that people will see if it looks bad.

“African American patients always say the same thing to me: I don’t want to look like Lil Kim or Michael Jackson, and I don’t blame them. It’s really hard to reverse that type of surgery once it is poorly done,” Ghavami said, and he knows from personal experience.

“I have handled a lot of difficult revisions for African Americans in which the doctor either took too much cartilage off of their nose or too little. It’s a lot of work to deal with scar tissue and to give them back their ancestral features.”

Knowing the work that has to be done to reverse a bad nose job, Ghavami said he spends extra time on his consultations with black patients.

“I show them a lot pf pictures, and I show them what is going to be done. For the bridge on their noses, I put their own cartilage and tissue, so they get more height to the bridge. You don’t want to narrow it too much,” he said, “because it would look fake.”

Like Ghavami, Board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Oleh Slupchynskyj, also recognized the need for better techniques for black patients after working with several who came to him after already having a nose job done once before.

“A lot of African-American patients who come to see me ask why did I get into this since I am not African-American, and I give them the same answer — I saw a need for it and I thought I had the skills to provide people what they were looking for,” Slupchynskyj told theGrio. “There is a misconception that in order to be a good ethnic rhinoplasty surgeon, you have to be of that ethnicity. That is simply not true.”

Slupchynskykj also added that most surgeons don’t recognize that needs of Caucasian patients, who often look for reductions of their hump or top refinement, differ from African Americans, who look for less bold nose tips. Surgeons must also get rid of the mindset that African American patients who want a nose job are trying to look less black, he said.

“I think that there is a general conception that when talking about African-American rhinoplasty that African-Americans are scared of losing their ethnic features, but in reality, I think what they are really saying is that they don’t want to look like they have a nose job.”

Have you ever had or considered having a nose job? Were you concerned about losing your ethnic features or simply looking like you had work done?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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