In many cases, African-American patients consider Rhinoplasty for the same reasons that patients of other ethnicities seek out the procedure. Rhinoplasty can treat many disorders and injuries that can inhibit the air flow through the nose, such as a deviated septum (the wall between the nostrils). The surgery can also improve the function of the nose, reduce incidences of snoring during sleep, reshape the nose to a more pleasing appearance.
What Are the Concerns Specific to African-American Patients?
Rhinoplasty for African-American patients is sometimes considered a specialty among cosmetic surgeons. On average, the nose of an African-American patient has a different shape, and different needs for reshaping, than those of patients of another ethnicity. While patients of other races may have a nasal bridge with a high, narrow structure, the African-American patient typically has a low, wide nasal bridge and wide, flaring nostrils. The key to a successful Rhinoplasty for African-American patients is to improve the function and appearance of the nose while maintaining their unique ethnic features.
What is Nasal Bridge Augmentation?
One of the most sought-after procedures for the African-American patient is a nasal bridge augmentation. As the name implies, the object of the procedure is to improve the structure of the nasal bridge. The surgeon can opt to use natural cartilage from another part of the patient's body to rebuild the nasal bridge, However, any irregularities in the shape of the cartilage can make the task of straightening the nose more difficult. In most cases, surgeons choose to use plastic materials, such as Gore-Tex, to reshape the nasal bridge structure and keep the nose straight.
How Does Nasal Bridge Augmentation Work?
Prior to the operation, the surgeon will consult with the patient to determine the size and shape of the implant to be used. Also, the surgeon and patient will discuss other procedures which can be done at the same time, such as reducing flared nostrils and removing bumps and other irregularities. During the procedure, the surgeon makes a few tiny incisions inside the nose to expose the structure of the nasal bridge. The incisions create a “pocket” which allows the surgeon to insert the implant. The surgeon then closes the incisions with dissolvable sutures and places a splint over the nasal bridge.
What Are the Risks of Nasal Bridge Augmentation?
Even the safest and most routine surgical procedure carries some risk. Patients may experience infection, bleeding, and slow healing after an operation. For patients undergoing nasal bridge augmentation, the dangers can come from an improperly shaped implant. If the implant is not customized to fit the contours of the patient's nose, it can stretch out the nasal skin, which can make revision surgery more difficult. Also, patients may have adverse reactions to some artificial materials, such as the polyethylene material found in the popular implant Medpor.
What is the SLUPimplant™?
After many years of treating African-American patients and conducting several nasal bridge augmentation procedures, Dr. Oleh Slupchynskyj has developed a special type of implant that can improve both the function and the aesthetics of the patient's nose. The SLUPimplant™, unlike any of the other implants in use today, is specially designed for use in nasal bridge augmentation surgeries. While the primary application of the SLUPimplant™ is in nasal bridge augmentation for African-American and other ethnic patients, it also has many other uses.
What are the Benefits of the SLUPimplant™ for African-American Patients?
The challenge that faces many cosmetic surgeons that deal with African-American patients is how to balance the need to improve the proportions and functionality of the nose without having the results stray too far away from the community's standards of aesthetic beauty. A procedure that may bring out the best in a patient of another race would not look the same on an African-American patient. Since the SLUPimplant™ can be custom-fitted to each patient, the results are often much better than those from other methods.
What do African-American Patients Think of the SLUPimplant™?
Dr. Slupchynskyj conducted a study on the effectiveness of the SLUPimplant™, which was published in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery in 2008. In the study, Dr. Slupchynskyj conducted 75 procedures using the SLUPimplant™ (54 female, 21 male) and surveyed the patients for their satisfaction on a scale from 1 to 5. More than eighty percent of the patients (62 out of 75) responded to the survey.
The average survey scores were:
- Improvement in Self-Esteem: 4.3
- Improvement in Facial Harmony: 4.3
- Overall Satisfaction: 4.6
Why Was the SLUPimplant™ Developed?
Patients who require a higher degree of structure and volume in the nasal bridge area often do not have their needs met by either the transfer of cartilage from other areas or the insertion of a “one-size-fits-all” artificial implant. Dr. Slupchynskyj's SLUPimplant™ is custom made and sculpted to meet the desires of the individual patient, while maintaining the qualities uniquely attractive to their ethnicity. As seen from the survey results above, patients overwhelmingly agree that the SLUPimplant™ fills these needs.
How Does the SLUPimplant™ Procedure Work?
The SLUPimplant™ procedure is part of a three-tiered approach to restructuring the nose of the African-American patient. The other parts of the procedure include reducing the flaring of the nostrils and refining the bulbous tip of the nose. Just as with a standard nasal bridge augmentation implant, the SLUPimplant™ is inserted into the pocket formed by the incisions along the bridge of the nose. The small bridge implant raises the height of the nasal bridge and reinforces the overall structure.
Does the SLUPimplant™ Leave Visible Scars?
Due to their darker skin pigmentation, African-American patients are more prone to scarring after cosmetic procedures than patients of other races. As Dr. Slupchynskyj wrote in his groundbreaking study, “Any surgical procedure may put African-American patients at a greater risk of developing keloids, which may be of concern to African-American patients considering cosmetic procedures.” Since the incisions for the SLUPimplant™ procedure occur primarily inside the nose, the patient need not be concerned about visible scarring or the occurrence of keloids.
Does the SLUPimplant™ Work on Different Types of Noses?
The shapes of noses among African-American patients is more diverse than those found among other ethnic groups. An earlier study classified these shapes into three categories:
Although Dr. Slupchynskyj's study did not differentiate between these types specifically in his efforts, the patients who underwent the procedures displayed a wide range of shapes, sizes and colors. The customization factor of the SLUPimplant™ procedure allows the surgeon to work on patients with nearly any type of nasal bridge structure in need of augmentation.
How Does the SLUPimplant™ Compare to Other Options?
In instances where the patient's own nasal cartilage is insufficient to rebuild the profile, the silicone SLUPimplant™ is preferable to almost all other artificial materials. Some materials, such as Gore-Tex, do not have the strength to maintain the nasal structure and often result in the patient returning for revision surgery. Heavy metals, such as titanium and vitallium alloys, can provide structure, but can also facilitate bone adhesion.
The primary advantage of the SLUPimplant™ is that it is customizable; non-customizable implants can result in an elevated nasal bridge. These implants can also extend down to the base of the nose, resulting in an extrusion through the thin skin. The use of the poorly-shaped implants can also result in a deformity known as “Pollybeak”. The term “Pollybeak” comes from the nose's resemblance to a parrot's beak. A Pollybeak Deformity often occurs when the space on the bridge of the nose just above the tip (known as the “supratip”) becomes the highest part of the nose in a profile view. The malleability of the SLUPimplant™ prevents such deformities from occurring.
The SLUPimplant™ method has quickly become the most sought-after Rhinoplasty procedure for African-American patients. After several years of tests, a clinical study, and dozens of patients, Dr. Slupchynskyj has honed the procedure so that African-American patients can achieve the results they want while still maintaining their ethnic identities.
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