Reducing Nostrils for Bulbous Nose

I would like to reduce the size of my nose and to achieve some tip definition.I will also have the hump filed down slightly –as I still want some of my original features. I have been advised that my nostrils can be reduced to make the nose appear smaller, it was also suggested that the tip can be slightly raised in order to make the nose appear less sloped from the side. Would reducing the nostrils make my nose look small and bulbous?How effective is grafts on bulbous noses?

Doctor Answers 12

Rhinoplasty for bump and profile refinement, and reducing bulbous tip.

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All you mentioned can be done and if you need grafts, they should have no problem as long as they are not over crushed. Select an experienced rhinoplasty surgeon and look at his work--better yet, see live patients he has done.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews


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From your pictures, you have asymmetry, lack of definition, and lack of tip support in general.  You have a small hump.

I think a rhinoplasty can improve your nose significantly, but likely, it won't be perfect.  Tip grafts will be needed for support and shaping, and are very effective.  You skin looks thick too, so it may not be possible to get a really refined look.

Refining bulbous nose and reducing nostril size

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The treatment of the bulbous nose is to reduce the projection, narrow the width of the nostrils by alarplasty. Reduction of tip cartilages can be performed by direct excision and sewing the cartilages together to narrow the dome of the tip. It is very difficult to reduce the length the nostrils. Osteotomies are performed to narrow the width of the bony portion of the nose. All of these procedures de-project the nose and refine and sculpt the nose for a better facial profile.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Reducing Nostrils

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Everything suggested by your surgeon is appropriate. Grafts will provide support and help to improve definition in a bulbous tip.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Modifying a larger nose

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A "bulbous" nose is a rather generic term that is generally understood to mean a round and prominent tip.  Fundamentally the nose consists of several layers including skin, subcutaneous ( fatty) tissue and cartilage and bone.  The tip has no bone but a lot of cartilage structures.  A round and prominent tip can be a reflection of too much of any of these tissues.  To the extent that the prominence is due to cartilage it is rather easily addressed.  If the prominence is due to thick skin this represents a more challenging goal to achieve a more refined look.  Cartilage grafts can create a more refined look in the tip. 

Narrowing of the nostrils is a good complementary procedure for rhinoplasty.  It should be subtle and natural.  It will not affect a bulbous tip.


Tail Raine MD

Talmage J. Raine, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Nostril Reduction and Bulbous Noses

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I would not do the nostril reduction alone. It will make your tip appear MORE bulbous.

The only way to avoid that is to do a tip-plasty as well, so that the tip cartilages can be narrowed. This will preserve the balance in your nose and make the entire structure appear smaller.

What you do with the profile height and the amount of tip elevation is purely up to your own personal taste. I would not do anything drastic in either area. You would do very well with subtle changes.

Best of luck

Richard W. Westreich, MD
Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Rhinoplasty for the bulbous nose

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There are numerous procedures which can be used to provide tip definition and improve the appearance of the nose, and cartilage grafts are very useful in certain cases. Narrowing the nostrils is often possible no matter what techniques are used on the dorsum and remainder of the nose. An in depth consultation with a plastic surgeon is essential in order to answer all your questions prior to undergoing any surgery on your nose.

Olivia Hutchinson, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon

Bulbous Nose

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Thanks for your question but it is too difficult to address over the internet. Seek 3 opinions from boarded rhinoplasty surgeons in person to satisfy your issues. From MIAMI Dr. B

Nostril reduction in conjunction with correcting a bulbous tip

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The main reason for nostril reduction is to narrow a wide nasal base or to change the angulation of the nostrils themselves. Reducing the nostrils themselves will not have any major effect on the tip itself. That being said if one lowers the tip closer toward the face, this may result in flaring of the nostrils which would require an alar base or nostril reduction. Finally, to answer the other part of your questions, for a very wide and bulbous tip, grafting can help to further narrow the tip when other more conservative measures are not effective enough. I hope this information helps.

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

Reducing the size of a thick bulbous nose

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First you must be made aware that your nose is asymmetrical particularly the nostrils and this may not be completely correctable. While grafts in small noses with thick skin to achieve greater projection can be useful, I do not prefer these in larger noses that need to be made smaller. Your thick skin is the primary obstacle in achieving a refined and smaller nose.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 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.