What Is Rhinophyma and Why Do People Get It?

Rhinophyma, which is Greek for “nose growth”, is a skin deformity that is characteristic of advanced stages of rosacea.
Rhinophyma is a skin deformity that is characteristic of advanced stages of rosacea.

What would it feel like to be embarrassed to leave your home or be in a public space due to a cosmetic condition? That’s how many people living with severe cases of rhinophyma feel.

Rhinophyma, which is Greek for “nose growth”, is a skin deformity that is characteristic of advanced stages of rosacea. While the condition most often affects men, women can also develop rhinophyma. But men and women alike understand just how frustrating it can be to live with the condition if it’s left untreated.

Luckily, there is a solution for rhinophyma. Dr. Edward Buckingham of Austin’s Buckingham Center for Facial Plastic Surgery regularly and successfully treats patients with rhinophyma using CO2 laser therapy. This treatment might be right for you if you have been diagnosed with rhinophyma and you feel that your condition is keeping you from living a normal, happy life.

What Is Rhinophyma?

Rhinophyma is a skin condition characterized by a bumpy and bulbous nose that is dark red in color. The swelling of the tip of the nose is thought to be a result of enlarged oil glands and is considered to be a subtype of severe rosacea. Rhinophyma tends to affect men ages 50-70 years more than any other demographic.

Overgrowth of nasal tissue in rhinophyma patients can have negative effects on a patient’s self-esteem. Treatments of the past included dermabrasion or knife excision combined with skin grafting, but these procedures are known to involve lengthy recovery periods and significant risks.

Today, CO2 laser therapy offers patients a non-surgical treatment option that utilizes the latest resurfacing techniques to help patients suffering from rhinophyma to drastically reduce nasal swelling and scar tissue. Dr. Buckingham uses laser resurfacing techniques with great success for patients with rhinophyma.

What Areas of the Face Can Rhinophyma Affect?

Rhinophyma can affect not only the nose but also the surrounding skin, especially the cheeks. A flushed appearance and an uneven skin tone or texture are typical for individuals living with rhinophyma.

The condition can make the pores larger and blood vessels can appear more visible underneath the skin. Patients with this condition often feel as if the growth has overtaken the skin on their nose. In advanced stages, rhinophyma can double or triple the size of the nose and distort its shape, altering the overall appearance of the face.

Causes of Rhinophyma 

In the past, rhinophyma was thought to be caused by excessive alcohol intake. While this theory has since been disproven, there is still relatively little known about the condition that is most notably characterized by a bulbous nose.

Rhinophyma is not linked to alcoholism and is instead considered to be caused by rosacea which has been left untreated. Those at the highest risk of developing the condition include men ages 50-70 suffering from rosacea, although a small percentage of rhinophyma sufferers are women.

Treatment Options for Rhinophyma 

If you notice changes in the color or shape of your nasal tip, it’s important to get treated as soon as possible. The condition is easier to treat in the initial stages than it is when it has advanced.

Treatment for rhinophyma is less intensive than for most other cosmetic nasal concerns. Improvements to the appearance of the nose can be made with CO2 laser resurfacing, which is sometimes combined with fractional laser therapy, depending on the needs of the patient. Typically, treatment for rhinophyma takes just about one hour. Recovery takes 10-14 days.

Before laser resurfacing, the surgeon will prep the skin with a topical numbing cream to ensure the patient’s comfort and inject the nose with a local anesthetic. The resurfacing process will begin with the use of light energy to excise the excess tissue from the nose. The surgeon typically combines a variety of laser therapies in order to best contour the nose and achieve the best results possible.  

Who Are Ideal Candidates for Rhinophyma Treatment?

Ideal candidates for rhinophyma treatment are people who are in good health and have realistic expectations for what the treatment can do for them. It’s important to schedule a consultation with Dr. Buckingham to determine the best course of action for your needs.

Most rhinophyma cases can be successfully treated with CO2 laser therapy in our state-of-the-art outpatient facility. If you’re not sure if you’re a candidate or if you have questions about rhinophyma treatment, call our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Buckingham.

Schedule a Consultation Today!

If you’re suffering from rhinophyma and seeking treatment, it’s important to get the help of a reputable and board-certified facial plastic surgeon who can help you achieve the results you desire. Fully eliminating the problem isn’t always possible, but a skilled surgeon should be able to achieve significant improvements in the appearance of your nose and face.

If you’re looking for a surgeon to treat rhinophyma in Austin, Texas, Dr. Edward Buckingham and his team at Buckingham Center for Facial Plastic Surgery are here for you. Dr. Buckingham is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon with years of experience in treating patients with rhinophyma using a variety of cutting-edge laser technologies. To schedule a consultation with  Dr. Buckingham, contact our office at 512.401.2500.