Rhinophyma is the technical name for a bulbous nose, also called red nose or alcoholic's nose. This condition was long thought to be the result of excessive drinking. As it turns out, this is not true. Heavy drinkers and non drinkers are equally affected by this disorder. W.C. Fields is possibly one of the most famous examples of this problem. Many people in years past were very embarrassed to have this condition because people presumed that they drank too much. These days the appearance can be improved by bulbous rhinoplasty.
The cause for a bulbous nose is not known. There are several schools of thought. Some researchers believe its cause is demodex, a tiny mite that lives in the hair folicals. Interestingly enough, this same mite causes demodectic mange in dogs.Others cite the H. pylori bacterium as a factor. People with gastric ulcers wil be familiar with that term. There has been some discussion that it is primarily a disorder of the blood vessels, but most often it is thought to be a very severe form of rosacea. There is no cure at the present time, but it can be improved with antibiotic therapy and sometimes acne medications. Plastic surgery is also an option. The nose tip can be shaped and sculptured by removal of tissue and suturing. Lasers, scalpels, and dermabrasion have all been used. Unfortunately the condition may return even after plastic surgery.
The symptoms are a large, bulb shaped nose, with red, thickened skin. There are many oil glands and the skin can have a yellow,waxy appearance. There can also be lumpy growths at the tip of the nose. Women are seldom affected by this disorder. As with typical rosacea, people have flares. At those times, the condition is worse. Wind, cold, high indoor heat, stress, tension, and drinking can increase the symptoms.
If antibiotics and other medications do not have the desired effect, a plastic surgeon can correct the appearance of the nose.Surgery is done under general anesthesia as with other nose jobs and often on an outpatient basis. An incision between the nostrils, called an open rhinoplasty allows access to the inner structures. The surgeon can then remove excess tissue and sculpt the nose into a more pleasing shape. Lasers are particularly good for this procedure. There is less bleeding and scarring with the use of a laser. Recovery time is a few weeks as with traditional rhinoplasty. Final results are apparent in about two weeks, but it can take up to a year for the nose to stabilize into its final shape. I'll bet if bulbous rhinoplasty has been in use, in earlier times, W.C. Fields would have had a very different public image.
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