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 is 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!
Rhinoplasty of the nostril requires a careful eye and precise surgical approach, as there are many components of the nostril that need specific evaluation prior to surgery — the aperture, shape (round, oval, teardrop), thickness, distance between the nostrils, and the amount of flaring and angulation.
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.
For the surgery to appear natural, the nostril proportions should be in balance with the patient’s other facial features.
The ideal nostril size can be determined by imagining an invisible line from the inner corner of each eye straight down. Your nostrils should remain in between each line when resting and when flared.
One way to reduce the width and flaring of the nostrils is to remove skin from the crease where the nostril meets the cheek. This is a short procedure that can be completed in 30-60 minutes. 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 incision can be limited to the exterior part of the nostril wall (decreasing flaring without decreasing the circumference of the nostril) or extend into the nostril (to narrow the nostril base and reduce the size of the nostril). If needed, a Botox injection can also relax the nostril and decrease unfavorable flaring.
NOSTRIL REDUCTION BEFORE AND AFTER
Here is a before and after look at one of Dr. Menachof’s nostril reduction surgeries:
NOSTRIL REDUCTION RECOVERY
The scar that this surgery produces can be hidden in the crease where the cheek meets the nostril. The incisions are usually closed with one deep set of dissolvable sutures, and one more superficial set of sutures that will be removed after five to seven days.
The scar is in the nasal base crease, providing a natural camouflage and no bruising. There may be some initial redness which will settle down over a couple of weeks. One to two days after the removal of the sutures, you can wear makeup to conceal this redness if needed. You will be able to return to school or work the day after your nostril surgery, and you can use ice for any discomfort or swelling.
The cost of nostril reduction surgery is around $2,000-$3,000, depending on the procedure and surgeon.
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. Reduction of nostrils should be approached conservatively and delicately if it is the best solution for the patient.