UCI-led study shows emerging rhinoplasty technique improves appearance and breathing

While beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, breathing is an agreed upon necessity. A new study reveals how an emerging technique in rhinoplasty does more than improve physical appearance.

Brian J.F. Wong, MD, PhD, professor and director of the Division of Facial Plastic Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, has perfected a nuanced technique called the Articulated Alar Rim Graft (AARG). Designed to provide stability to the nasal structure and improves the attractiveness of the nasal tip, the technique also increases air flow.

In a study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Facial Plastic Surgery, Wong explored the effectiveness of the AARG for improving nasal airway function.

Titled, “Functional Outcomes, Quantitative Morphometry, and Aesthetic Analysis of Articulated Alar Rim Grafts in Septorhinoplasty,” the study examined 90 patients who underwent a rhinoplasty procedure where an AARG technique was used.

“I approach cosmetic operations of the nose like a civil engineer and an architect,” said Wong. “Using the AARG technique, I am able to address deformities some patients have in their nasal tip. These deformities often prevent them from breathing properly.”

Results from the study indicate that by using the AARG technique, Wong and his team were able to make a major improvement in a person’s ability to breathe, while also improving the asthestics of the nose structure itself.

When patients seek surgical help to correct or reconstruct the nose, it is often due to the length, or the width of the nasal tip. Changing or refining the appearance of the nasal tip is a common problem, but can be a difficult to correct surgically. The AARG is a new surgical technique which corrects the nasal shape and gives it structure.

Wong and other UCI researchers have also developed a numerical system that classifies the shape of the nose, with the ultimate goal to have the tip of the nose resemble a unilateral triangle.

“We have for the first time defined a ‘number on beauty’,” said Wong, who is also a professor of biomedical engineering at UCI’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering. “The structural stability afforded by these grafts gives us a very elegant way of addressing a deformity.”

Wong has given more than 50 lectures on the AARG technique and has additional lectures scheduled in Columbia, Taiwan, Netherlands, Miami, and China.