Similar to the other parts of the nose, such as the bridge and tip, the nostrils need customized attention, as nostril size, shape and width vary for each patient. The outer edges of the nostril are composed of a fatty, fibrous, soft tissue, and the nostril size, thickness and flaring are due to the quantity of this fibro-fatty tissue. Everyone’s nostrils have their own unique shape and size — you should only consider surgery if your nostril structure has been bothering you for a long period of time!
Individuals who feel that their nostrils are too big, wide or misshapen often consult a surgeon for nostril reduction surgery. This surgery, also called alarplasty or alar base reduction, is a procedure that can narrow the width of the nostril base, decrease the amount of nostril flaring or decrease the overall size of the nostrils.
Alar Reduction Rhinoplasty
The ideal nostril size can be determined by imagining an invisible line from the inner corner of each eye straight down to your chin. Your nostrils should remain in between each line when resting and when flared.
Patients who qualify for an alar base reduction have a broad alar base, or lower portion of the nose. This alar nose base causes nostrils to flare and spread across the cheeks. This procedure is designed to improve the shape and dimension of the nostrils.
The surgeon will make an incision in the crease of where the nostril meets the cheek. A wedge of nostril wall is removed, and then the incision is sewn shut. The shape of the incision may be triangular, rectangular or diamond-shape, depending on the shape of the patient’s nostril and their desired appearance. The alar reduction scar will hide in the crease of the nose, and the nose will appear smaller and narrower. For the surgery to appear natural, the nostril proportions should be in balance with the patient’s other facial features.
This procedure is performed in the office under local anesthesia and it takes about an hour to complete. Alar base reduction cost depends on the surgeon and location, but typically costs between $2,000 and $4,000. Be sure to consult an experienced facial plastic surgeon with experience in alar nostril reduction. It’s possible to perform this procedure alone, or as a part of a rhinoplasty. Communicate your nasal goals with them, and they will help you achieve your desired nasal results!
Nostril Reduction Healing
Healing times vary from patient to patient. The incisions are usually closed with one deep set of dissolvable sutures, and one more superficial set of sutures. Usually, about five to seven days after the alar nostril reduction, patients will return to the surgeon to have these superficial stitches removed. Patients can expect to have a tiny, visible line in the nostril-cheek crease throughout the alar reduction scar healing process, that will gradually fade away. Once the scar is closed, you can conceal it with makeup, but luckily, the scars are placed in naturally camouflaged places so that eventually, no makeup will be needed.
There may be some redness around the scar for the first two weeks of healing. Any major alar base reduction swelling will decrease after the first three weeks, but the remainder can take up to a year to subside. You can resume day-to-day activities a day after the surgery and you can resume light fitness activities two weeks after surgery, but do not strain yourself. Many patients feel comfortable in public about two weeks after surgery.
Nostril Reductions Before & After
Here is a before and after look at two of Dr. Menachof’s nostril reduction surgeries:
Nostril Reshaping is Highly Specialized
The proper post-operative nostril size is different for every patient, but the goal is the same — blend the new nose with other facial features. Nostril shaping in rhinoplasty is highly specialized and you should consult with an experienced surgeon about your rhinoplasty and nasal needs. Do your research when looking for a surgeon – look into their cost and before and after photos – you want to be confident in your surgeon’s rhinoplasty ability as well as their eye for well-executed facial changes. The reduction of the nostrils should be approached conservatively and delicately if it is the best solution for the patient.