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Aesthetic Plast Surg. 1999 Jul-Aug;23(4):239-42.

The effect of skeletal remodeling on the nasal profile: considerations for rhinoplasty in the older patient.

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  • 1Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio 78284, USA.


The effect of continued differential growth of the adult male craniofacial skeleton on the nasal profile is examined in the present study. Two groups of individuals (N = 20) were compared, young (ages 16-23) and old (49-64). A three-dimensional CT scan was created for each individual in a standardized view. The change in position of four skeletal reference points with soft tissue correlates was analyzed. Changes were evaluated in both the vertical and the horizontal dimensions relative to the sella-nasion and to a perpendicular from the sella-nasion. Results show that the area of the maxilla at the pyriform remodels posteriorly with age (p = 0. 017), while the position of the other three points does not change in a significant fashion. This suggests that differential growth continues to occur in the aging craniofacial skeleton. Differential growth is further documented by calculating the percentage change in the position of any of the four points: the pyriform changed 80.2% from young to old, while the other points changed only from -9.3 to +22.1%. The craniofacial skeleton is the scaffold for the overlying soft tissues. Because the pyriform aperture represents the skeletal platform for the nasal pyramid, pyriform remodeling in a posterior direction retrudes the nasal profile with age. In addition, loss of pyriform height may distort the normal relationship of the alar base to the columella. These changes require assessment for the optimal result from aesthetic rhinoplasty.

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