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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

Rhinophyma can cause emotional distress. This is because of the way it looks.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

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

References

Berth-Jones J. Rhinophyma. In: Lebwohl MG, Heymann WR, Berth-Jones J, Coulson I, eds. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 211.

Habif TP. Acne, rosacea, and related disorders. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 7.

Review Date:10/24/2016
Reviewed By:David L. Swanson, MD, Vice Chair of Medical Dermatology, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Mayo Medical School, Scottsdale, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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