What Is Typical Alar Base Reduction Healing Time?

I'm about to get an alar base reduction and I was wondering what the average healing time is? I'm concerned because I have about 8 days after I get surgery until I have to return to work and I'm worried that the scars will be noticeable. I read that stitches come out after 5 days. At what point will covering the scars with makeup will be permissible? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 11

Alar reduction

Alar reduction healing time is usually quite short. As you noted, your surgeon will remove sutures in only 5 days. When done well the scar is virtually imperceptible even at only one week, and there is usually no bruising. At 8 days post-op you should look fine and might not even need makeup.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Rhinoplasty surgery

Healing times can vary from person to person as there are so many factors that can alter the postoperative course. Every patient brings unique problems that can be solved in a variety of ways by different surgeons and different surgical approaches. Typically, your surgeon is only capable of giving you an average time period as to how your recovery process will unfold. Usually, sutures are removed between five and seven days after this type of procedure and usually you can expect to have a fine visible red healing incisional scar for many months that can be concealed with most makeup, one to two days after the sutures are removed.

Michael A. Epstein, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Nostril scars after Alar surgery

Recovery time for cosmetic surgery is often limited by the patient's need to return to work soon.  After the stitches come out in 5 days, I usually have patients use ointment for 1 more day to optimize repithelialization of the suture openings.  Then I would recommend Oxygenix makeup, which is the only makeup designed to allow the skin to breathe and contains nutrients to enhance healing. You can start using it 7 days after surgery (and even sooner after laser).

Edmund Fisher, MD
Bakersfield Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Nasal scars after alar base reduction in rhinoplasty

These scars are well placed  in the alar base crease which provides natural camouflage.  There may be some initial redness which settles down over 10 days to two weeks.  It is usually possible to wear light make up after suture removal to cover the redness. 

Rondi Kathleen Walker, MD
Washington Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Alar base reduction downtime

It can take 7 to 14 days depending upon your individual healing. The stitch removal time depends upon the preference of your surgeon. As far as being noticeable, that location tends to not draw much attention and you may be able to hide it after 8 days again depending upon the amount of work you are having done.

Scott Trimas, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Healing time for alar base reduction

You are correct in that sutures come out in five to seven days. If the alar base reduction is well done, the scar should already be fairly well concealed within the ala crease. We have little trouble with these scars.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Alar base reduction healing

Scarring in this area is quite variable depending on your skin type, coloring, etc. some patients will get increased pigmentation to the scars that may last months. Makeup can hide this, of course. I usually recommend my patient's avoid placing makeup on the incision line until a couple days after the sutures are removed. I would follow your surgeon's recommendations on this though.

Thomas A. Lamperti, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Alar Base Reduction

As I do alar base reduction, the incisions are very inconspicuous.  The sutures would be in for 6 or 7 days and I also allow makeup 24 hours after suture removal.  There is typically no bruising from the procedure and swelling is not much of a concern.  After suture removal, there is generally a pink line that is for the most part hidden from view even without makeup.  The pink line gradually fades over weeks to months depending on the person. 

Louis W. Apostolakis, MD
Austin Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Alar base healing time

The incisions used for alar base reduction heal quickly.  If the sutures are removed at 5 days, then by day 8 you should be able to use make-up and return to work.  Use caution when showering or toweling off.  Review your concerns with your surgeon.

Best Wishes

Dr. Peterson

Marcus L. Peterson, MD
Saint George Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Scars after alar reduction.

Scars from this procedure are variable depending on your skin type and the extent of the incisions used.  In most cases the scars are not very noticeable and you can return to work at 8 days without being too concerned.   Applying makeup 8 days after surgery is probably safe.

Philip Solomon, MD, FRCS
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 93 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.