“Bulbous nose” is a term patients often use to describe a “ball” on the end of their nose. This ball can be caused by the abnormal anatomy of alar cartilage or by the overlying soft-tissue coverage. The purpose of this article is to analyze the different causes of bulbous noses and their treatment options. An analysis was done based on four decades of experience and long-term follow-up. We included 10 patients for our discussion.
The relationship of the tip to the vault must be analyzed, because it can create optical illusions. For instance, a low bridge makes the tip appear larger; therefore, a bulbous nose may be relative. Similarly, excessive narrowing of the nasal base by alar wedges makes the tip appear wider.
Intrinsic causes of a bulbous nose include skin, subcutaneous tissue (including the nasal superficial musculoaponeurotic system, ligaments, and fat), and the shape and direction of the individual crus. Nasal skin varies as to volume and ability to contract; therefore, the shape, direction, or divergence of the individual crura cannot undergo unlimited modifications.
There are several surgical possibilities for a given problem. Making the diagnosis of the underlying abnormal anatomy is the most important step; then the most appropriate operation can be selected. Struts, sutures, resection, dome division, and/or dorsal augmentation are all viable options for the management of the bulbous nose. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 106: 906, 2000.)