Austin’s facial plastics specialist treats this unwanted nasal feature
Rhinophyma is a skin condition that affects the appearance of the nose, creating a bulbous nasal tip that is often dark red or purple in color. Nasal tip swelling is thought to be the result of enlarged oil glands, and experts have linked rhinophyma to the inflammatory skin issue acne rosacea. In the past, rhinophyma was mistakenly attributed to excessive alcohol intake, branding the individual who suffered from this condition with an unnecessary social stigma.
The tissue overgrowth in rhinophyma patients can be dramatic and leave a patient severely disfigured with long-lasting nodules. In the past, treatment options were limited to dermabrasion or simple knife excision with skin grafting techniques. Cosmetic results have significantly improved with the advent of the CO2 laser, which is an acronym for Carbon Dioxide Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and requires about one hour to complete. Dr. Buckingham of Austin’s Buckingham Center for Facial Plastic Surgery employs combined resurfacing techniques to achieve optimal results for the patient.
Who is Affected by Rhinophyma?
Rhinophyma is most commonly seen in men aged 50-70, though women too can experience the condition. As previously explained, those who are affected by rosacea may also experience rhinophyma. Rosacea is a chronic inflammation of the facial skin, with characteristic enlarged blood vessels that create a reddish discoloration. Rosacea can also produce pustules, similar to those caused by acne.
Best Candidates for Rhinophyma Treatment
Candidates for this treatment are in good physical health and have realistic expectations for improving the appearance of a swollen, bulbous nose. A private patient consultation with Dr. Buckingham is the best way to determine if treatment is right for you and which approach is most appropriate. Most forms of rhinophyma can be significantly improved through treatment.
What Areas of the Face Does Rhinophyma Impact?
The skin issues that result in rhinophyma often affect the surrounding skin, primarily the cheeks. This can create a flushed appearance and uneven skin tone and texture. Rhinophyma causes the nose to appear much larger than it actually is. The pores may become more visible, and underlying blood vessels may be apparent through the overlying skin. Many patients who experience rhinophyma explain that they feel as though a growth has taken over the external skin of the nose. In fact, rhinophyma can double or even triple the size of the nose in its advanced stages. This skin condition also distorts the shape of the nose, changing the overall look of the face.
Those affected by rosacea may not be familiar with its symptoms in the case of a new and unexpected onset. Rosacea is characterized by random facial flushing, red skin of the upper half of the face, and a sensitivity of the affected skin. Rosacea can be mistaken for adult acne, but a dermatologist or facial plastic surgeon can recognize the difference. A dermatologist can prescribe medications and skincare treatments that help control rosacea symptoms.
Once rhinophyma begins to impact the nose, those affected may notice a thickening of the skin, a ruddy coloring, and an increased production of oil. The nose’s sebaceous glands become enlarged, and superficial infections of the skin can form which may produce a foul-smelling discharge. The lesions of the nose are benign but can negatively impact a person’s self-image.
Treating Existing Rhinophyma
Modern cosmetic medicine has hailed the CO2 laser as one of the best current treatments available for rhinophyma, which may be combined with fractional laser therapy depending on an individual’s needs. The laser produces invisible light to penetrate the skin and alter its structural base while vaporizing the accumulated excess skin. Prior to the resurfacing process, the skin may be prepped with a topical numbing agent for a more comfortable experience and the nose is injected with local anesthetic.
The swollen skin of the nose might be marked to distinguish the treatment site from that of the normal nasal skin, which can be difficult when the area is discolored. The debulking resurfacing process is often begun by excising the larger components of the rhinophyma. One or more lasers may be utilized for the best contouring action.
Recovering from Rhinophyma Correction
After a laser treatment, the nose may be covered with gauze. This is because the skin has essentially endured a controlled cosmetic burning and must be kept clean to avoid infection. The dressing should be changed after the first day and then up to three times a day afterward until the wound has begun healing. Patients can expect some drainage during this process. One day after the procedure, patients can take a shower or bath but should not submerge the nose. The nose can be cleaned with gentle soap and water, which will help to remove crusted skin, and blotted dry with a clean cotton towel. Dr. Buckingham may prescribe or provide patients with a special balm to apply to the wound. There should be no scarring as a result of this treatment, though it is possible.
While it can take up to 14 days for the skin to fully heal at the treatment site, pain and discomfort are minimal and short lived. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications are typically sufficient for this purpose. The newly formed skin will be pink and sun-sensitive for up to six months following the procedure, so sun protection is a necessity. Patients can return to their regular schedules in the next day or two if their activities do not impact the treatment site and they feel comfortable with their appearance.
Frequently Asked Questions About Rhinophyma
It is rare that patients experience a second flare up of rhinophyma once it has been cosmetically addressed. Some patients require more than one procedure for the maximum benefit. In some cases, rhinophyma may be treated by a combination of the CO2 laser and additional lasers or therapies.
During the initial consultation, Dr. Buckingham will see a patient and perform a complete facial analysis. This allows him to develop the best treatment approach to meet one’s particular needs. He will also answer any questions about rhinophyma and associated treatments, or cosmetic surgery in general.
While acne rosacea can be controlled by a dermatologist, advanced stages of the skin condition can create inflamed, thickened skin. At this point, a cosmetic procedure may be the best long-lasting solution. Patients can discuss their concerns with their dermatologist and schedule an appointment to see Dr. Buckingham.
Schedule a Consultation
Dr. Edward D. Buckingham of the Buckingham Center for Facial Plastic Surgery practices aesthetic medicine in Austin, Texas. He is double board certified by The American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and The American Board of Otolaryngology. The doctor performs customized facial procedures and offers both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options.
The first step to treatment with Dr. Buckingham is to schedule a consultation at his Austin practice, Buckingham Center. It is during this appointment that prospective patients can explain their physical concerns to the doctor and learn about various methods of correction.
Contact the doctor by email through the Patient Contact Form, or by phone at (512) 401-2500.