Rhinophyma Treatment

Rhinophyma Treatment

Rhinophyma is a form of rosacea most commonly seen in men. Rhinophyma presents as excessive tissue growth that can lead to excessive tissue on the nose. Rhinophyma can also be associated with enlarged pores, pimples and a deformity or change in shape of the nose.

This condition can be markedly improved with a combination of surgery and laser therapy. Mild to moderate cases of rhinophyma can be treated with CO2 laser surgery, whilst more severe cases are treated with a combination of surgery and laser. Rhinophyma treatments are partially covered under Medicare.


Patients who suffer from rosacea and rhinophyma are very sensitive to external factors such as sun exposure, hot and spicy foods and temperature changes. Contrary to popular belief, rhinophyma; also known as alcoholic’s nose, is not primarily due to excess alcohol consumption.

  • Rhinophyma is a form of rosacea.
  • Rhinophyma is secondary to inflammation and present in the 40s- 60s.
  • This form of rosacea is much more common in men.
  • Treatments such as laser and surgery can make a significant difference.
  • Treatments for rhinophyma are partially covered by Medicare.
  • Laser and surgery for rhinophyma has a downtime of approximately 10-14 days.
  • Once treated, rhinophyma rarely recurs.
  • A combination of anti-inflammatory antibiotics and creams can help reduce the chances of recurrence.

Rhinophyma is a form of severe rosacea that is relatively common in the Australian male population. Mild cases present as uneven lumps and bumps of tissue on the nose of rosacea sufferers. In severe cases the nose and other areas of the face takes on a thickened overgrowth of tissue.

Rhinophyma can be associated with enlarged pores, pimples and overgrowth of tissue. In most cases, rhinophyma develops in the late 40s, and worsens with time.

Rhinophyma is a severe form of rosacea characterised by lumps and growths, most commonly seen on the nose. It can be associated with pustules and outbreaks of sores, as well as a facial redness, flushing and blushing.

Rosacea and rhinophyma is common in Australia, in part due to the genetic make up of this country, and partly due to sun exposure. Most patients who suffer from rhinophyma can recall episodes of pimples and sores that flare up on the nose area, often associated with intermittent bouts of redness.

This condition can be markedly debilitating for patients both emotionally and physically. Effective treatments are readily available.

More on rosacea treatment

The exact cause of rhinophyma is poorly understood, however this condition is a form of rosacea. Prolonged inflammation may obstruct the lymphatic glands from draining around the nose area, leading to an increase in the number and size of oil glands. This then leads to an overgrowth of tissue a process known as fibroplasia. This leads to excessive tissue, enlarged pores, and thickening of the nose.

Contrary to popular belief this is NOT primarily due to excessive alcohol consumption.

Depending on the severity of Rhinophyma, Specialists use a variety of methods to correct the deformity. Moderate deformity rhinophyma is treated with a CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) laser. This laser coupled with the skill of the Dermatologist reshapes the nose, removing excess tissue with each pass.

Severe rhinophyma is treated with a combination of both surgery AND laser resurfacing in the one session.

Dr Davin Lim has performed this procedure for the past 8 years and is a leading expert in the field of rhinophyma treatments.

All rhinophyma treatments are performed in our laser theatre at Westside Dermatology. Patients are given some mild sedation during the procedure, during which the treated areas are numbed with local anaesthetic. The procedure itself takes between 30-60 minutes to perform depending on the complexity of each case. The treatment itself is virtually painless due to our expert anaesthetic protocols.

After the procedure, the treated area is then covered with an antibiotic ointment and a dressing. Primary healing times typically range from 7-14 days.

Rhinophyma treatments are very successful and in all cases will markedly correct the underlying deformity. The majority of cases will require only one treatment. Touch-up treatments are occasionally performed for optimal results. This will be discussed during your initial consultation with a Dermatologist.

Laser surgery has a very high success rate for treating rhinophyma. Laser and surgery removes excess tissue and enlarged pores, reshaping the nose back to it’s former contours. Once treated, rhinophyma rarely recurs.

Specialists often prescribe creams and tablets to reduce the chance of rhinophyma recurrence. These tablets and creams reduce inflammation, and in some cases decrease oil gland production from the nose.

Early treatment of rhinophyma may prevent the condition from worsening. Antibiotics and prescription creams may decrease the outbreaks of pimples and sores on the nose. Dermatologists may prescribe a Vitamin A drug called Isotretinoin for early phyma and a daily massage programme. This is only of value in very early cases of phyma. Control of rosacea may decrease facial flushing and redness.

More on rosacea treatments

Most patient who have rosacea will NOT get rhinophyma. Rhinophyma is most commonly seen in men between the ages of 40-60. It is NOT associated with chronic alcoholism. It is exceedingly rare for women to get rhinophyma. Rosacea is a skin disorder with multiple forms, including flushing, blushing, pimples and papules, rhinophyma is just one form of this disease.

Unfortunately there are no great medical treatments for established rhinophyma. Early changes of rhinophyma can be partially halted with deep tissue massage and anti-inflammatory medications, such as tetracycline antibiotics.

In some cases, early rhinophyma can start of as pimples and lumps on the nose, on the background of broken blood vessels and redness. Over time the pimples can lead to thickened tissue and lumps. Early inflammation can be treated with antibiotics such as minocycline, or doxycycline. Firm massage for 10 minutes a day to the nose area can partially halt the progression of rhinophyma. Massage can break down congested tissue on the nose and stimulate lymphatic flow to reduce the accumulation of inflamed products.

If medical treatment with creams and tablets is ineffective in the treatment of early rhinophyma, the use of a vascular laser can reduce the blood vessels, redness and pimples. Unlike erbium or CO2 Laser, vascular lasers can treat other forms of rosacea- namely the redness of this condition. Vascular laser treatment of rosacea is not associated with blistering of the skin, and recovery is much quicker than other forms of lasering.

Corrective surgery for RHINOPHYMA is a day surgical procedure, associated with a significant recovery period. This is essential to reshape your nose, removing excess tissue and decreasing pore size. Consider the following if you are contemplating rhinophyma correction-

  • A recovery period of 10-14 days is mandatory for rhinophyma correction.
  • This means no exercise, and time away from work.
  • A post operative laser check a day after is needed.

Costing of the procedure

  • Mild to moderate Rhinophyma (laser only) – Please contact us for pricing.
  • Moderate to severe Rhinophyma (laser and surgery) – Please contact us for pricing.

*This treatment is partially covered under Medicare. This include assistant fees, laser theatre fees, anaesthetic fees, procedure and follow ups.

Risks and considerations must be considered prior to treatment of rhinophyma. The risk of infection is rare, our laser specialists prescribe a combination of antibiotics and antiviral tablets during the procedure. Scarring is extremely rare – less than 1% of cases.

Other considerations to take note include:

  • Recovery period of 10-14 days, including dressings and wound care. This entails time away from both social activities and work
  • Post recovery redness of upto a few weeks to months.
  • Colour change on treated areas with may last months.

The cost of treating Rhinophyma is dependent on the complexity and technique used.

  • Mild to moderate Rhinophyma (laser only) – Please contact us for pricing.
  • Moderate to severe Rhinophyma (laser and surgery) – Please contact us for pricing.

*This treatment is partially covered under Medicare.

Fees includes laser theatre fees, assistant fees, procedure fees, anaesthetic fees, as well as follow up.

**All surgery and laser therapy is conducted in our Specialist Laser and Operating suites at Westside Dermatology.  The procedure is conducted by a Specialist in the field of laser dermatology.


Dr Davin S. Lim
Consultant Laser Dermatologist
Westside Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology

Rhinophyma can be one of the most debilitating and deforming conditions for men. It can be a source of embarrassment for many patients, both physically and emotionally due to the incorrect assumption that it is seen in alcoholics. Fortunately treatments are effective and will provide all patients with a significant improvement in the physical appearance and quality of life. I often combine both surgery and CO2 laser in the one session. Recovery does however take on average 10-14 days, during which patients must limit their work and social activities. This treatment is partially covered under Medicare, and partial rebate applies.

Prevention of rhinophyma is important after surgery, however this condition rarely recurs. In some cases I use a cream called Metronidazole, and combine this with intermittent courses of anti-inflammatories or even vitamin A.