BACKGROUND: Although much has been published with regard to the columella assessed on the frontal and lateral views, a paucity of literature exists regarding the basal view of the columella. The objective of this study was to evaluate the spectrum of columella deformities and devise a working classification system based on underlying anatomy. METHODS: A retrospective study was performed of 100 consecutive patients who presented for primary rhinoplasty. The preoperative basal view photographs for each patient were reviewed to determine whether they possessed ideal columellar aesthetics. Patients who had deformity of their columella were further scrutinized to determine the most likely underlying cause of the subsequent abnormality. RESULTS: Of the 100 patient photographs assessed, only 16 (16 percent) were found to display ideal norms of the columella. The remaining 84 of 100 patients (84 percent) had some form of aesthetic abnormality and were further classified based on the most likely underlying cause. Type 1 deformities (caudal septum and/or spine) constituted 18 percent (18 of 100); type 2 (medial crura), 12 percent (12 of 100); type 3 (soft tissue), 6 percent (six of 100); and type 4 (combination), 48 percent (48 of 100). CONCLUSIONS: Deformities may be classified according to the underlying cause, with combined deformity being the most common. Use of the herein discussed classification scheme will allow surgeons to approach this region in a comprehensive manner. Furthermore, use of such a system allows for a more standardized approach for surgical treatment.
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