Rhinophyma is a condition in which swelling of the nose happens. If the condition progresses, the nose further becomes redder, swollen at the end and gains a bumpy surface which changes its shape.
This swelling is happened because there is formation of scar-like tissue and the sebaceous glands get bigger. Much more rarely, swellings can arise on other parts of their face such as the ears and chin.
The condition is mainly seen in people who have rosacea, a rash that can affect the cheeks, forehead and nose. Generally rhinophyma only develops in rosacea which has been active for many years.
However, rosacea affects woman more than men, still rhinophyma is seen mainly in fair-skinned men aged 50 to 70 years.
What causes Rhinophyma?
The causes of rhinophyma are not fully known yet. Rhinophyma can occur as a more severe stage of rosacea. However, some people have rhinophyma without having rosacea.
Although this condition is commonly believed to be due to alcohol but there is no link between rhinophyma and excessive drinking.
What does rhinophyma look like?
Initially there may just be redness of the nose and a few small bumps. With respect to time, however the nose becomes more swollen and bulbous. The growth can become quite large with prominence of the skin pores.
How is rhinophyma diagnosed?
Generally, the diagnosis is made based on the site involved and appearance of the skin. If the diagnosis is unclear, a dermatologist may take a small skin biopsy under local anesthetic for examination under the microscope.
How can rhinophyma be treated?
Rosacea can be helped a little with topical treatments such as creams and gels, as well as by courses of antibiotics lasting many months. Another option is oral isotretinoin, a tablet also used for acne.
However, these treatments do not generally work very well in rhinophyma, and surgery is often necessary. The focus of surgical treatment is to extract the excess tissue and restore the natural shape of the nose. Additional treatments can also reduce the redness of the nose.
Depending on the severity and extent of the rhinophyma a doctor may offer some of the following treatments:
- Dermabrasion – This is a device which uses a wire brush or a burr (a wheel with rough edges) which rotates rapidly and removes the upper layers of the skin. This effect can also be achieved with lasers.
- Electrosurgery and Electrocautery – this treatment uses devices that deliver high frequency electrical currents that heat up and help remove excess tissue.
- Scalpel or razor blade excision – this involves using either a scalpel or razor blade in a controlled manner to help remove the excess tissue.
These treatments can be performed either by dermatologists, plastic surgeons or ear nose and throat surgeons.
There are advantages and disadvantages with all of the above treatments which your specialist will go through with you. Sometimes more than one attempt or a combination of different treatments is required to obtain a good outcome.