Rhinophyma is often attributed to heavy alcohol consumption, but this is not the case. Regardless of whether you drink or not, you may develop Rhinophyma with age.
The actual cause of Rhinophyma is unknown, though it is thought to be a severe form of rosacea. It is sometimes referred to as Phymatous rosacea.


Symptoms of Rhinophyma typically include the following:
• Bulb-like shape to the nose
• A bulbous and uneven tip of the nose
• Many large pores and obvious oil glands
• Is often red in colour, though it may also be a waxy, yellow colour
• Thickening of the skin, which worsens with age.


Most men present with advanced stages of Rhinophyma, and surgery is the only form of treatment. The procedure can be performed 2 ways, and Dr McGovern performs both depending on your circumstances and the thickness of the Rhinophyma.
Shave Excision

Basically the skin of the nose is shaved off with a sharp blade in many layers until the desired thickness of the tissue has been achieved. A thick layer of an occlusive antibiotic ointment is placed over the wound and this is to be kept up until the nose has healed, which typically takes about 5 – 7 days.

Shave excision can be performed under local anaesthetic in our rooms, or under a light anaesthetic at the Sunshine Coast Day Surgery. The procedure takes about half an hour to forty five minutes.
Laser Ablation

Dr McGovern may choose to treat your Rhinophyma with a CO2 laser. Lasers ablate the cells, but produce heat as they do so. This heat can help to reduce pore size as it causes collagen shrinkage, as well as reducing the bulk of the nose.
Laser resurfacing of Rhinophyma is performed as a day procedure at the Sunshine Coast Private Hospital. The procedure again takes about 45 minutes.

Recovery is the same, regardless of how the procedure was performed. You will not have a dressing in place, just the occlusive antibiotic ointment previously mentioned. In the first 12 – 24 hours the nose may weep, the occlusive ointment helps to stop this.
The ointment is applied as often as necessary. Basically we do not want the skin to dry out and scab. As mentioned, the skin heals quickly and is generally completely healed, though still pink and tender at day 5 post-operatively.


If your Rhinophyma is extensive, you may require a 2 stage procedure, with the second procedure being performed 3 months following the first. This is never seen as a problem by men who have needed the dual procedure, as the recovery is short and easy. This isn’t a painful procedure at all.

Rhinophyma can also reform, but this takes many years, and is seldom a problem.