You’re No Pinocchio: A Lengthening Nose May Be an Illusion

September 8, 2014 - by

As the years go by, you may feel as though the end of your nose has begun to wilt or sag. You’re not alone—many men and women seek out a doctor’s opinion on correcting a drooping nose tip. But according to a recent report, your nasal tip might not be the thing that’s actually changed over time.

Plastic surgeons with expertise in facial reconstruction discovered that the issue may in fact be caused by changes in the areas around the nose, rather than the nose itself. Suggesting that the appearance of a “drooping tip” may be an optical illusion, the study observed what areas of the face do indeed change the appearance of our nasal tip as we age.

If not the nose, who’s the culprit?

The participating doctors examined photos of twenty-five female patients who complained of changes in their noses over time. The study photos captured the participating women smiling as well as with neutral expressions. Details of each patient’s face were then measured, allowing researchers to precisely track changes over time.

The doctors discovered that the tips of the patients’ noses moved less than 1 mm on average and that the “plunging tip” was most likely an illusion caused by changes in other parts of the face. What did shift were areas surrounding the nose, including the nasolabial creases surrounding the mouth and the lower part of the septum.

Why does the tip of the nose seem to change in appearance with age?

Depletion of collagen, changes in our nasal cartilage, and loss of skin elasticity that occur with aging may be responsible for the appearance of a plunging tip. As collagen is depleted, the bones in our faces come closer to the surface of the skin. This, in combination with loss of bone mass in the jaw and upper teeth area, can cause the angle between the mouth and nose to change, resulting in the tip of the nose appearing to sag.

While changes in nasal tip appearance may not be the fault of your nose, there are a range of options for addressing the concern. There are both surgical and nonsurgical procedures for treating signs of aging in the area around the nose, which can in turn help you perk up the look of a drooping nose:

  • Rhinoplasty. While you nose might not actually have changed much over time, a Tip Rhinoplasty, which refines and raises the angle of the nose tip, is still a very effective way to correct the appearance of a drooping nasal tip.
  • Facelift. For those looking to address more than just the nose, a facelift can reduce many visible signs of facial aging by removing excess fat, tightening underlying muscles, and redraping the skin of your face and neck. The procedure thereby improves the appearance of nasolabial creases that affect nasal tip appearance.
  • Dermal fillers. Injectable fillers such as Juvéderm®, Restylane®, and Sculptra® are a great nonsurgical option for addressing problem areas around the nose, which may be the reason you’re seeing a nose droop.

If you have a nose that seems to appear droopier than it used to be, consulting with a board certified plastic surgeon is a great first step. Contact us to schedule a consultation to learn more about your options with Dr. Zevon today.


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