Facial plast Surg 1998; 14(4): 241-253
DOI: 10.1055/s-2008-1064456
© 1999 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.

Clinical and Histological Variants of Rhinophyma, Including Nonsurgical Treatment Modalities

Thomas Jansen, Gerd Plewig
  • Department of Dermatology, Ludwig-Maximillian University of Munich, Germany
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Publication History

Publication Date:
02 June 2008 (online)


Phymas are slowly progressive, disfiguring disorders of the face and ears that represent the end stage of rosacea, a common centrofacial dermatosis. Phymas are probably caused by the sequelae of chronic edema and its related connective tissue and sebaceous gland hypertrophy. Rhinophyma is the commonest among them. Analogous swellings may occur on the chin (gnatophyma), forehead (metophyma), one or both ears (otophyma), and eyelids (blepharophyma). Although rhinophyma has been traditionally associated with alcoholism, there is no evidence to support this association. Four variants of rhinophyma (glandular, fibrous, fibroangiomatous, actinic) can be recognized on clinical and histological basis. The development of skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, in rhinophyma appears to be a matter of accidental coincidence of different diseases. Although phymas are best treated surgically, they may be a worthwhile indication for nonsurgical treatment modalities such as systemic isotretinoin. Phymas do not resolve spontaneously.