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Rhinophyma

Definition

Rhinophyma is a large, red-colored (ruddy) nose. The nose has a bulb shape.

Alternative Names

Bulbous nose; Nose - bulbous; Phymatous rosacea

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Rhinophyma was once thought to be caused by heavy drinking of alcohol. This is not the case. Rhinophyma occurs at the same rate in people who do not use alcohol as in those who drink heavily. The problem is much more common in men than in women.

The cause of rhinophyma is unknown. It may me a severe form of a skin disease called rosacea. It is an uncommon disorder.

Symptoms

Symptoms include changes in the nose such as:

  • Bulb-like (bulbous) shape
  • Many oil glands
  • Reddish color (possible)
  • Thickening of the skin
  • Waxy, yellow surface

Signs and tests

Most of the time, the health care provider can diagnose rhinophyma without any testing.  Sometimes, a a skin biopsy may need to be done.

Treatment

The most common treatment is surgery to reshape the nose. Surgery may be done with a laser, scalpel, or a rotating brush (dermabrasion). Certain acne medications may also be helpful in treating the condition.

Expectations (prognosis)

Rhinophyma can be corrected with surgery. The condition may return.

Complications

The change in appearance can cause emotional distress.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of rhinophyma and would like to talk about treatment.

References

Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, et al, eds.Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 37.

Lucas JL, Tomecki KJ. Acne and rosacea. In: Carey WD, ed. Cleveland Clinic: Current Clinical Medicine 2010. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010.

Habif TP. Acne, rosacea, and related disorders. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 7.

 


Review Date: 11/20/2012
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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