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Rhinoplasty terminology defined – what is Nasal Projection?

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While discussing the size of a nose, most people can easily describe the size of a hump or tip. Both features are easy to understand and explain. However, the nasal projection is an equally important feature that is hard to describe for the non-surgeon and often overlooked.

Nasal projection refers to how far the tip of the nose sticks out relative to the face (Figure 1). Numerous methods have been devised to establish what is the ideal nasal projection. In cases where the nose is over-projected, patients would comment that they feel that their noses simply appear “too big.”  (Figure 2) Pinocchio’s nose would be an extreme example of an over-projected nose. In my practice, we see a good number of patients who desire revision rhinoplasty because they still have an over-projected nose despite having had rhinoplasty. In many of these cases, patients had their hump reduced, but their nasal projection was not addressed. In under-projected noses, the nose often appears too tiny or droopy. (Figure 3) When the nasal projection is close to the ideal, it just seems to fit the person’s face.

When planning for rhinoplasty, nasal projection is one of many features that we take into consideration. Sometimes, maneuvers meant to change another part of the nose can also affect nasal projection. Therefore, it is important to find a board-certified facial plastic surgeon with expertise in rhinoplasty who can anticipate these potential changes and account for them during surgery.


Nasal projection

Nasal projection

Over-projected nose

Over-projected nose

Under-projected nose

Under-projected nose

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.