Rhinophyma is a condition that affects the nose, most commonly in the context of an inflammatory skin disease called Rosacea. It typically presents with textural irregularities with areas of thickened skin and enlarged prominent pores, together with an irregular contour giving rise to the term “cauliflower” nose. The condition can occur in conjunction with other signs and symptoms of rosacea, such as spots on the cheeks or chin, associated with redness that typically flares up with alcohol consumption, stress and heat. There are four subtypes of rosacea: vascular (presenting with redness, visible vessels and flushing), inflammatory (presents with spots), ocular (affecting the eyes with dry eyes or sticky eyes or sensitivity to sunlight), and phymatous rosacea which presents commonly in the nose as rhinophyma.
Whilst Rhinophyma does generally not give symptoms of pain or itching, it can be severely debilitating and can lead to social embarrassment and isolation. These are the commonest reasons for which patients seek treatment for. Unfortunately, the condition does not improve spontaneously and in many cases can slowly progress and worsen. Rhinophyma can present in different severity grades ranging from mild to severe. The duration and severity of the underlying rosacea can contribute to this hence early treatment and intervention is recommended.
Treatment of rhinophyma depends on the severity and may be limited to topical creams and tablets or through the use of an ablative laser called the carbon dioxide (CO2) laser. Treatment with this laser can remove the thickened areas and smoothen the contouring of the nose. The treatment is performed under local anaesthetic and can take around 30 minutes to an hour depending on the severity. The recovery time varies and can take up to 3 weeks and it is therefore best to discuss this with Professor Firas Al-Niaimi who has performed many of these advanced procedures and is highly skilled in the use of the ablative CO2 laser.
Laser treatment for Rhinophyma is a very safe and effective process with a high patient satisfaction rate and can be truly life changing to some patients. It is important the procedure is performed by a well-trained Consultant Dermatologist and laser specialist.