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Low Nasal Bridge

What is a low nasal bridge?

Your nasal bridge is the bony area at the top of your nose. If you have a low nasal bridge, that area is flat and doesn’t protrude. The degree of flatness can vary depending on the person.

An infectious disease or genetic disorder can sometimes cause a low nasal bridge, which is also called saddle nose. The cause is usually determined and treated shortly after birth. A baby’s features are naturally underdeveloped at birth. Over time, their nasal bridge may acquire a more normal appearance.

If you or your child has a low nasal bridge, the condition typically won’t impair breathing. You can have your nasal bridge reshaped by plastic surgery if its appearance bothers you.

Low nasal bridge in children

The facial features of babies and young children are naturally underdeveloped. In the absence of underlying disease, your child’s facial features will develop and become more prominent as they grow.

If your child has a low nasal bridge but no other symptoms or signs of health problems or genetic abnormalities, there’s generally no cause for concern. If you’re unsure whether the shape of your child’s nose is normal, make an appointment with their pediatrician.

Low nasal bridge caused by genetic disorders

The underlying causes of a low nasal bridge are present at birth. They’re usually diagnosed at or shortly after birth. Underlying causes include genetic disorders, birth defects, and infectious disease.

Abnormal genes that are passed from parents to their child cause genetic disorders. These disorders aren’t curable. The following genetic disorders can cause a low nasal bridge.

Cleidocranial dysostosis

Cleidocranial dysostosis causes the skull and collarbone to develop abnormally. People with cleidocranial dysostosis may have a low nasal bridge.

Williams syndrome

Williams syndrome is a developmental disorder that affects many areas of the body. It’s caused by the deletion of genetic material from chromosome 7. The deleted material includes more than 25 genes.

Williams syndrome causes mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, and distinctive facial features. Williams syndrome also causes bone deformities like a low nasal bridge.

Down syndrome

Down syndrome is caused by trisomy 21. This means every cell in the body has three copies of chromosome 21 instead of the usual two copies. Down syndrome causes mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, and unusual facial and body features.

People with Down syndrome commonly have flattened facial features, which may include a low nasal bridge.

Low nasal bridge caused by birth defects

Birth defects caused by fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) may also cause a low nasal bridge.

FAS is a group of birth defects that your child may have if you drank alcoholic beverages during your pregnancy. The chances of FAS are highest if you drink alcoholic beverages during the first trimester of your pregnancy.

FAS causes:

  • nervous system problems
  • growth deficiencies
  • behavioral problems
  • learning disabilities
  • facial abnormalities

A low nasal bridge is seen in some children who have FAS.

Low nasal bridge caused by infectious disease

An infectious disease is caused by an acquired infection. Congenital syphilis can cause a low nasal bridge. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). If you have syphilis during your pregnancy, you can pass it to your child through the placenta. This can also happen through contact with the vaginal canal during delivery.

Congenital syphilis is a severe and potentially life-threatening infection in infants. Infants with congenital syphilis are treated with antibiotics to kill the infection. However, the treatment has a low success rate.

About 12.5 percent of infants with congenital syphilis die if left untreated. An infant who survives may have severe health problems. These can include:

  • blindness
  • deafness
  • neurological problems
  • bone deformities like a low nasal bridge

Diagnosis of an underlying problem

If your doctor suspects that the shape of your child’s nose is caused by an underlying problem, they may order tests to detect genetic abnormalities or other health problems. Tests may include:

  • X-rays to look at the structure of your child’s nose
  • chromosome tests to detect genetic abnormalities
  • blood tests to detect infections and check enzyme levels

Can a low nasal bridge be repaired?

A low nasal bridge generally doesn’t cause any health problems. Plastic surgery usually isn’t necessary. If you’re unhappy with the appearance of your nose, talk to a plastic surgeon about how plastic surgery can reshape your nasal bridge.

The results of surgery will depend on the flatness of your nasal bridge, as well as your other facial features.

Content licensed from:

Written by: Rose Kivi
Medically reviewed on: Nov 17, 2017: Alana Biggers, MD

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your health care provider. Please consult a health care professional with any health concerns you may have.
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