How Can Asymmetrical Nostrils Be Corrected?

I have one nostril larger than the other. What can be done to make them more symmetrical? It’s just a small difference, but sure is noticeable in pictures.

Doctor Answers 13

Correcting asymmetrical nostrils

The notching that occurs in the nostrils can be addressed through composite skin grafts from the ear, which consist of both cartilage and skin and would bring down any alar notching. When the base of the entire nose is tilted off, it is very difficult to straighten and involves scars that would be unacceptable. Alar base excisions can be done either symmetrically or asymmetrically to improve asymmetric nostril shape.

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

If that's all that bothers you do nothing!

The difference is so slight in your nostrils that I would leave it alone. It only shows with your head back and is so slight that only you would notice the difference. The chances of making them perfect are remote.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Correction of asymmetric nostrils

It is possible to reduce the asymmetry between the nostrils. The question is, should it be done in your case; what are the pros and cons?

By reducing your right nostril to match the left, the tip of the nose may appear more bulbous. Also the breathing will be less on that side. These issues can be minimized, but other procedures will then be necessary.

In addition, your left nostril simply inserts higher than the one on the right. Correcting this asymmetry can cause additional scarring.

There are many changes of sun damage on the nose as well, which could be addressed at the same time. As one of my colleagues has astutely noted, there appears to have been some intervention on the left nostril in the past. What are the ramifications of this?

An experience board certified plastic surgeon can guide you through these questions.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 119 reviews

Correction of uneven nostrils depends on reason for asymmetry

Correction depends on the reason for the asymmetrical nostrils. If the nostrils are uneven because of a deviated nasal septum, the septum should be straightened, placed and secured in the midline of the base of the nose. If the nostrils are flaring asymmetrically, they can be corrected by reducing the flare in a symmetrical manner. A wedge of skin and subcutaneous tissue is excised from the inner aspect of the base of the lateral nostril (ala) on each side in a manner to make them even sometimes, on the superior aspect of the nostrils there is a flattening on one side and a triangulation on the other side. This finding is very difficult to correct and attempts are often not worthwhile.

Sigmund L. Sattenspiel, MD
Freehold Facial Plastic Surgeon

Nostril asymmetry can be improved, but not eliminated

Nostril asymmetry can be improved, but never eliminated. If your pictures are representative, I would not recommend surgery unless correcting your deviated septum  is indicated to improve nasal breathing.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Rhinoplasty to correct asymmetrical nostrils


You would need a rhinoplasty to correct this, with a small excision done of the larger nostril. However, this is only noticeable on the 2nd photo, which means that most people cannot see the asymmetry at all. I agree with my colleagues that the chance of making this perfect is difficult, and therefore if this is the only thing about your nose that bothers you, I would leave it alone. Good luck.

Nina S. Naidu, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Your asymmetrical nostrils could be corrected with Rhinoplasty Surgery.

The base view of your nose shows the asymmetry best. Your columella leans a bit to your left. And on your front view, your right nostril is a bit lower than your left. The asymmetry on your front view is barely noticeable. You seem to have thick, oily skin which can limit the beneficial results you could see after Rhinoplasty surgery.

You should consult a board-certified Rhinoplasty specialist to discuss your options.

I hope this is helpful for you.

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 336 reviews

Correcting nostril asymmetry

Correcitng nostril asymmetry is usually done surgically when other areas of your nose are addressed such as your wide tip. However, it can be done as a sole procedure if you desire either with a graft or moving your nostrils as in an alar base reduction. However, that being said most nostrils are slightly asymmetric and it is very difficult to create perfect symmetry if not near impossible. So my advice unless it really bothers you I would leave it alone unless you also want some work done to narrow the tip of your nose.

Scott Trimas, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Uneven nostrils

Nostril symmetry can be corrected. The treatment will be different depending on what is causing the asymmetry. A deviated septum can alter the nostril shape so fixing the septum should help even out the nostrils. Nostril shape can also be changed by removing a small segment of skin at the base of the nose.

Given your pictures i would hold off on doing anything.

Sharon Theresa McLaughlin MD
Long Island City Plastic Surgeon


Improving symmetry in the nostrils can be achieved through surgery.  It looks like you have deficient cartilaginous support of the nostrils and excess tissue.  Through cosmetic rhinoplasty focused primarily on your nostrils and tip, I think that you can see some improvement. 

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.