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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

Rhinophyma was once thought to be caused by heavy alcohol use. This is not correct. Rhinophyma occurs equally in people who do not use alcohol and in those who drink heavily. The problem is much more common in men than in women.

The cause of rhinophyma is unknown. It may be 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

Exams and Tests

Most of the time, a health care provider can diagnose rhinophyma without any tests. Sometimes a skin biopsy may be needed.

Treatment

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

Outlook (Prognosis)

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

Possible Complications

The change in appearance from rhinophyma can cause emotional distress.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

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

References

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

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

Powell FC, Raghallaigh SN. Rosacea and related disorders. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, et al, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:chap 37.


Review Date: 11/14/2014
Reviewed By: Richard J. Moskowitz, MD, dermatologist in private practice, Mineola, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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