The thickness and elasticity of nasal skin will have a large effect on the results of rhinoplasty surgery, or “nose job.” Other factors that also play a crucial role include the patient’s gender, ethnicity, facial features, and amount and quality of the bone and cartilage.
A rhinoplasty procedure reshapes, files, or removes a small portion of the nose’s underlying framework—the cartilage, which is a flexible connective tissue found in the lower half of the structure, and the bone, which comprises the upper half. Meanwhile, the skin is not touched.
The overlying skin must be able to shrink down to the new framework, lest the results will appear amorphous or ill defined particularly at the tip.
The advantage of thin skin is that it can redrape better than thick skin due to its elastic nature. And for this reason, patients with this anatomy can tolerate more downsizing without having to worry too much about the risk of amorphous tip, explains leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Karan Dhir.
And due to the innate elasticity of thin skin, Dr. Dhir says it heals faster and experiences less bruising and swelling than thicker skin. Simply put, it leads to quicker social recovery, or about 10 to 14 days.
Meanwhile, patients whose nasal skin is markedly thick may have to wait a little longer before they look presentable in public.
And while full healing—i.e., the skin has “stabilized” or has redraped to the new contour—takes nine months to a year for patients with thin skin, complete recovery for someone with thick skin could take up to two years.
Due to persistent swelling experienced by ethnic patients who generally have thick nasal skin, it is not uncommon for their surgeons to recommend steroid injections especially into their supra tip (slightly above the actual tip or “end” of the nose) to eliminate or at least reduce the postop fullness.
Meanwhile, thin skin rarely requires the use of steroid injections, which must be used judiciously to avoid normal tissue atrophy (shrinkage). To prevent this type of problem, prudent surgeons typically dilute the drug and only use it during the first 3-6 months of rhinoplasty recovery.
However, thin skin has also its disadvantages. For instance, it could slightly increase the risk of minor revision to correct irregularities especially in the nasal bridge.
Any minor imperfection that is easily camouflaged by moderate or thick skin could show through thin skin.