What to Do with This Bulbous Nose? (photo)

Three main concerns I would like to address with rhinoplasty: Bulbous tip: It completely lacks any definition. It's just big and round and overpowering. How can I achieve a small, well-defined or angular tip? Overall width: The entire nose is wide. Area surrounding nostrils - I am not sure what this area is called, but the sides / wings of my nose surrounding my nostrils are bulbous as well. Is it possible to make these smaller / thinner?

Doctor Answers 11

Rhinoplasty for a Bulbous Tip is Always Challenging

The photographs are helpful, although I would like to see more views.  The ala, or outer (lateral) walls of the nostrils -- if thick -- are the least likely to be improved.  People think that just because the walls are thick, that narrowing the floor of the nostrils or the nostril sills would be helpful, but it won’t.  Only when the floors themselves are very wide is nostril narrowing indicated.  It is an excellent procedure for certain noses, but I suspect that in your case that may not be totally appropriate. 

Regarding the bulbous tip and its lack of definition: there are very sophisticated techniques which would be helpful.  It is not that unusual an anatomic finding, and techniques for improvement include adding on cartilage at the time of surgery.  Such a “tip graft” can be very helpful.  You may also be a candidate, at some point after the basic surgery is done, to have further augmentation, if indicated, using permanent injections. 

You would need to do a lot of homework and study up as much as you can.  Visit a lot of websites, read books, and then consult with the doctors that seem to have the most experience in this type of surgery.  Without being able to see all the views, feel the tissue and examine the nasal interior, I am a bit limited in giving further advice, but you are on the right course.  You have gotten off to a good start here on RealSelf.

Robert Kotler, MD, FACS
Nasal and Facial Plastic Surgeon

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Options for bulbous nose

The bulbous portion of the tip will require a combination of cartilage removal and suturing techniques to create a more pyramidal, pointed, and angular tip.  Osteotomies will narrow the width of the bridge along with a slight hump removal.  The entire nose can be made much smaller and refined.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 143 reviews

Bulbous Nose


It is possible to make the tip smaller and more defined during an open rhinoplasty surgery. However, patients with thick skin may not always achieve the level of definition they desire. In addition, swelling may linger for a longer period of time with patients that have thick skin. The final result of surgery will not be evident for up to 24 months following surgery.  The width of the nose can be reduced with osteotomies. Thank you, and I hope this helps answer your questions.

Dr. Nassif

Paul S. Nassif, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

What to Do with This Bulbous Nose

Based on your photos it appears that you have prominent and convex alar cartilages which can be reshaped and sculpted with rhinoplasty.  You also have thick skin which needs to be taken into consideration

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 221 reviews


It is impossible to fully answer your questions solely on the basis of your limited posted photos. The area you outlined is called the ala. The dome of the tip in the third photo is broad and that can be narrowed by suturing the 2 C-shaped tip cartilages together. If the nostril rims are more than 3 or 4mm in width they can be narrowed by removing fat from within the rim. The nasal width is assessed by comparing it to other facial structures but those are not included in your posted photos.

I hope you realize that this format of posting questions and receiving answers lacks the face to face direct communication required for you to make an informed decision regarding your surgery.

My response to your question/post does not represent formal medical advice or constitute a doctor patient relationship. You need to consult with i.e. personally see a board certified plastic surgeon in order to receive a formal evaluation and develop a doctor patient relationship.

Aaron Stone, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Excessive width of the nose and a bulbous nasal tip can be refined with #rhinoplasty. Seek an expert.

Excessive width of the nose and a bulbous nasal tip can be refined with #rhinoplasty. Seek an expert. Rhinoplasty is commonly performed but is the most challenging cosmetic procedure. Because of this, you want to find a rhinoplasty expert who has the best chance of giving you a pleasing result while maintaining your breathing the first time around. Seek a Facial Plastic Surgeon or Plastic Surgeon with board certification and alot of rhinoplasty skill. Look at photos of their patients' results. Ask them to "morph" your pre-operative images to ensure that you are both on the same page. This is not a guarantee of results but is a communication tool that ensures that you are both seeking to achieve the same result. Thank you for your question.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Stephen Weber, MD, FACS
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 129 reviews

Bulbous tip

Your tip can be improved quite a bit with rhinoplasty. Tip shaping sutures, careful cartilage removal and depending on your skin thickness structural grafts to flatten the lateral crura will give you a smaller more defined and balanced tip.

Michael L. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Changing a Bulbous Tip

Cartilage width and skin thickness typically add to a wide or bulbous nose.

A tip plasty including suture refinement as well as cartilage reduction in the area above the tip defining point will result in reduction of volume. This is a fairly standard operation for any surgeon that does a lot of nasal work. If your skin is too thick or the cartilages are soft, then cartilage grafting may be required to add structure and definition to the tip.

The volume in the nostrils can be slightly reduced. However, there is no specific structure that can be shaved or modified in that area. Some thinning of the fibrofatty soft tissue can be done. However, predictions about result are difficult in that region of the nose.

Best of luck

Richard W. Westreich, MD
Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Bulbous Nose

Refining the tip of your nose is a relatively common surgery.  The nostril area can also be thinned.  With both of these procedures completed you should have a very attractive nose. Please be selective when choosing a qualified surgeon.  The surgeon that you choose should be performing this type of nasal refinement on a regular basis.

David Alessi, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Rhinoplasty for the wide nose with a bulbous tip and hump.

Rhinoplasty for the wide nose with a bulbous tip and hump is a common procedure. You should be cautious about the surgeon you choose to make sure he has the same aesthetic taste that you do and is very experienced.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 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.