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Geometry of the Nose Part IV: Ethnic Noses and Structural Differences

In the previous installments of this series, we have examined the “landmarks” of the nose that make up the starting points of measuring the nose prior to surgery, as well as how those measurements are taken and the structure of the nose itself. For Dr. Slupchynskyj, the most important consideration in any Rhinoplasty procedure is how the results of the surgery will enhance the proportions of the nose and bring out the best in the patient’s appearance. One of the major factors lies in the inherent differences in the nasal structure of patients of all different backgrounds and ethnicities.


A 1986 study examined the nasal structure of 200 women of European (“Caucasian”) origin. The women were asked about their ethnic backgrounds and responded as follows:

Anglo-Saxon 91
Germanic 26
Latin 25
Slavic 27
Miscellaneous 31

The measurements among these groups showed remarkable similarity. Only five of the 35 proportions measured and seven of the 28 measurements taken “showed statistically significant differences” among the four major ethnic divisions. One of the most noticeable differences was in the width of the columella (the strip of skin that stretches from the nasal tip to the upper lip) and the ratio between its width and length. The noses of Slavic women had the widest and shortest columella, while the Germanic women had the longest and narrowest.


The casual observer can see many of the differences between the average African-American nose and the noses of other races. Scientists have conducted several studies to measure the differences between the proportions of the African-American nose and those found in Caucasians. Some of those differences include:

  • Short nose lengths.
  • Large, flat soft nose areas.
  • Wide, depressed nasal bridges.
  • Wide, bulbous nasal tips.
  • Flared, thick alare (nasal wings).
  • Short, wide columella.
  • Enlarged nostrils.
  • Round or oval-shaped nostrils.
  • Nasofrontal angle greater than 90 degrees.
  • Nasolabial angle less than 90 degrees.

Dr. Slupchynskyj, who specializes in African American Rhinoplasty procedures for African-American patients, always keeps these differences in mind when consulting with his patients and setting their expectations.

East Asian

A 1985 study conducted in Japan measured the noses of both men and women. The results showed even less variation in Japanese noses than those in American Caucasians. The measurement of nasal bridge inclination in Japanese women ranged from 20 to 32 degrees, compared to the range of 19.4 to 40.6 degrees in Caucasian women. The average nasal bridge length among Japanese was also shorter than those in Caucasians among both males (44 mm vs. 49 mm) and females (42mm vs. 45.4 mm).

A 2000 study published in the British Journal of Plastic Surgery showed the results of examining Asian noses with a 3-D laser scanner. Doctors used the scanner “to carry out anthropometric measurements in the nose region, in order to establish norms for the Oriental nose and also to identify the variations that might occur within this group.” The objective of the study was to collect data that could act as a “quick reference, when planning aesthetic or reconstructive” Asian Rhinoplasty for the Oriental patient.

Dr. Slupchynskyj’s knowledge and experience with different nasal structures both between and within ethnic groups has moved his practice far beyond a “one-size-fits-all” approach to Rhinoplasty. His expertise helps patients achieve the best of results they desire.

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