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A systematic review of the nasal index and the significance of the shape and size of the nose in rhinology

Leong, Samuel Chee and Eccles, Ronald 2009. A systematic review of the nasal index and the significance of the shape and size of the nose in rhinology. Clinical Otolaryngology 34 (3) , pp. 191-198. 10.1111/j.1749-4486.2009.01905.x

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Background: There was great interest in the 19th and early 20th century in classifying human races as Caucasian, Asian African etc. according to nasal shape and size, and the nasal index was the most commonly used measurement to differentiate races. Objective of review: To determine if there is any clinical relevance of the shape and size of the nose in relation to physiology, pathology and surgery. Type of review: Systematic review. Search strategy: A structured search of PubMed was performed from 1966 to 2008 for each section of the review focusing on the ethnic variations in nasal index, the effect of climate of nasal shape, ethic variations of nasal physiology and racial predilection for sinonasal pathology. Results: Nasal proportions do vary between ethnic groups but the size and shape of the nose does not define Caucasian, Asian and African races respectively. Anthropologists agree that the nasal variations are due to man’s adaptation to the environment. However, this theory remains to be proven. Published data on nasal physiology have not shown significant differences between the ethnic groups despite obvious differences in nasal proportions. There is no evidence of ethnic specific predilection to disease due to anatomical variation, physiological vulnerability or genetic susceptibility. Rhinology research is often confounded by classifying populations according to race, as racial characteristics are not based on any scientific principles and the nasal index may be a more reliable discriminator. The only area in which the size and shape of the nose is of relevance is in aesthetic and reconstruction surgery. Conclusions: Nasal proportions are important aesthetically but appear to have little relevance to the rhinologist.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1749-4478
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2017 08:18

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