Can an Alar Base Reduction Cause the Upper Lip to Appear Smaller?

Does moving the nostrils inwards result in a lip which is smaller lengthways?

Doctor Answers 7

Reducing the Size of the Nostrils with Rhinoplasty or Nasal Surgery in Los Angeles

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Reducing the size and width of the nostrils can significantly improve of the outcome of a rhinoplasty in people who have flared and wide nostrils. Using an Alar wedge resection technique during rhinoplasty, a small wedge of the nostril is removed and the remaining nostrils are brought in to make the width narrower. this technique of nose surgery does not alter the upper lips.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Alar base reduction will not affect the upper lip

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Alar base reduction will not affect the upper lip.  It is simply the removal of a small wedge of skin from the base of the nostril and will have no effect on the upper lip.  

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 155 reviews

Rhinoplasty Won't Change Upper Lip Size

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As the other surgeons have said, removing some of the nostril sill won't change the length of the upper lip.  However, there may be some optical illusion that could be perceived as a change in upper lip dimensions. 

Louis W. Apostolakis, MD
Austin Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Alar Base Reduction does not affect mouth shape

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No, alar base reduction, or bringing the nostrils closer together would not be able to decrease the horizontal size or width of the mouth.  The alar base, of the nose, sits on the very superior aspect of the circular muscle beneath the lips and as such really would not have that type of effect on the size of the mouth. 

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

No it will not change

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Alar base reduction results is decrease in horizontal width of the nose and has no effect upper lip length.

Moneer Jaibaji, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Alar base reduction and rhinoplasty

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Dear Quno,

As a facial plastic surgeon, we do not remove any upper lip skin.  The only skin that is removed is nostril skin.  With that said, your upper lip length will not change.


Nima Shemirani

Nima Shemirani, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 84 reviews

Alar base reduction will not make lip smaller

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The short answer is simply 'no'. An alar base reduction will not shorten the horizontal length of the upper lip.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 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.