Growing a Nose on the Forehead: New Spin of an Ancient Practice

A Chinese patient has suffered an irreparable damage to his nose caused by an infection after a car accident, so the doctors decided to grow him a new one… on his forehead:

Tissue expanders were placed under the skin and then cut to resemble a nose. According to local media, doctors expect to implant the new nose soon.

Dr. Patrick Byrne, the director of Facial, Plastic and Reconstruction Surgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, said forehead skin is used to help reform noses because it is the closest match to skin on the nose. However, usually the nose is reformed during surgery instead of on a patient’s forehead.

After going beyond the Ewww factor, it’s interesting to note how the practice of using forehead tissue for rhino-plastic procedures, is much more ancient than most people would realize. As can be seen on this article, the art of nasal reconstructions known today as the ‘Indian method’, was practice by physicians since 1000. B.C.

Illustration from the celebrated 1794 “Letter to Editor” responsible for the western spread of the “Indian Method” for total nasal reconstruction. (From B. L.: Letter to Editor. Gentlemans Magazine, October, 891, 1794.)

Nothing new under the sun… or our nostrils.

“The Impact of Indian Methods for Total Nasal Reconstruction,” by Larry S. Nichter, M.D., Raymond F. Morgan, M.D., and Mark A. Nichter, Ph.D., M.P.H.