Can Rhinoplasty Correct Asymmetric Nostrils?

Septoplasty has left my left nostril larger than before. Is it possible to correct it back to its original size? Can rhinoplasty fix this kind of problem?

Doctor Answers 23

Rhinoplasty can offer some improvement to asymmetric nostrils

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We are often asked by patients whether nostril asymmetry can be corrected. This is something that often really bothers people a lot even though they know that no one else really sees their nostrils on a regular basis (except for maybe the family pet). The answer depends on the cause of the asymmetry.

Much of the time, it is caused by asymmetry of the cartilages that make up the tip of the nose. You can be born this way but, more often than not, it happens from over-aggressive previous surgery. In this case, fixing the cartilage problems will go a long way towards improving nostril symmetry.

Sometimes, one nostril is just naturally smaller or shaped differently than the other one. The nostrils can be made to appear more similar in size and shape, but they may not be made perfectly symmetrical. This is usually cosmetically acceptable because noses and faces aren’t naturally perfectly symmetrical. So, the goal is to have every aspect of your nose look nice, natural, internally balanced, harmonious with other features and unoperated upon.

When there is a major difference in nostril symmetry, such as in someone with a cleft lip and palate, deficient bone and soft tissue is often responsible. In these situations, we have to do a lot of work including grafting to get things looking more similar. But, even in these cases, improvements can be had.

We encourage you to discuss your particular concerns with your surgeon directly, so you can be evaluated individually.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Correcting asymmetric nostrils

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Asymmetric nostrils often results from nasal tip deviation. Other issues, such as facial asymmetry can also be a factor in its development. The most important question for a surgeon and patient is why this occurred in the first place.

While asymmetry of the nasal tip cartilages can be a factor, there is usually a septal deviation that is the true underlying cause.

Deflections of the caudal septum (the lowest point) can push on the tip cartilages, causing differences in the nostrils. If you want to find out if the septum is an issue:

  • Push on the bottom of your nose and feel your septum.
  • It will be a sharp edge running all the way from the base of your nose to your tip.
  • If this edge is off center, then a deviated septum is likely causing your nostril asymmetry.

Even subtle deviations to the septum can affect nostril shape. If not, then tip cartilage asymmetry may be the reason for your problem. In order to understand the problem completely, a consultation is often necessary.

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

Usually, but it depends on the structural damage

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Usually the defect can be addressed quite successfully, but the outcome depends on the exact location of the structural change that altered the nostril size to begin with.

Obviously you're going to want to seek out a board certified plastic surgeon with the skills and experience necessary to deal with a revision rhinoplasty procedure. Do your homework and listen to the doctors you're going to interview.

You'll find the one that is able to fix the problem and meshes well with you on a human level too. Don't settle for anything less.

Steve Byrd, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Yes, you should see a rhinoplasty specialist

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Very often patients have asymmetry of the nostrils due to the crooked end of the septum pushing into one side of the nostrils. A rhinoplasty specialist will be able to correct this problem, usually by removing the deviated part of the end of the septum and restoring the symmetry of the nostrils.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Rhinoplasty can fix asymmetric nostrils

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In most cases an expert rhinoplastic surgeon can correct asymmetric nostrils. The method used to accomplish the correction depends upon the diagnosis of why they are different.

Remember, it is not the "rhinoplasty" that corrects the asymmetry, but the experienced, skilled rhinoplastic surgeon. Take the time to choose your surgeon most carefully.

Be well and good luck.

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Nostril Asymmetry Corrections

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Nostril asymmetries come in many shapes and sizes. Most can be corrected surgically by adding or removing skin and cartilage. Most require incisions on the outside of the nose but hidden between the nostril and the cheek skin. Some however can be treated with incisions and graphs placed inside the nostril and hidden.  

Philip J. Miller, MD, FACS
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Nostril Asymmetry

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Nostril asymmetry can occur for a variety of reasons following rhinoplasty surgery. In most cases this deformity occurs because of structural changes in the underlying cartilage. The most common cause of this type of nostril asymmetry is deviation of the distal portion of the nasal septum.

                  Occasionally the overlying skin can contribute to this problem as well. This often occurs when wound healing problems follow rhinoplasty surgery.

Treatment of this problem depends entirely upon the cause of the deformity. Unfortunately without a physical examination and pictures it’s virtually impossible to make a treatment recommendation.

In most cases open rhinoplasty allows optimal exposure to evaluate cartilage abnormalities. It also allows the surgeon, to correct deformities under direct vision and this appears to increase the success of this type of procedure. In some cases, excess nasal skin contributes to the asymmetry. Under these circumstances, a wedge resection of a portion of the nostril rim may be necessary.

If you’re concerned about nostril asymmetry, consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is appropriate. This surgeon should be able to make an appropriate recommendation. 

Can Rhinoplasty Correct Asymmetric Nostrils

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Weir excisions can be placed in specific areas of the nostrils to reduce one and make the nostrils more symmetrical. This can be done in combination with a rhinoplasty and heals very well in most cases.

Paul Vitenas, Jr., MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Improving the Apperance of Your Nostrils

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It is, indeed, possible to correct the complications you experience as a result of your septoplasty. You are correct in thinking that a rhinoplasty procedure can improve the apperance of your nostrils, just make sure you turn to an experienced surgeon!

Babak Azizzadeh, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Nostril asymmetry

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Rhinoplasty can improve nostril asymmetries.  Correcting the severely deviated septum may potentially cause external changes to the nose.  In your case the deviation may have been closer to the front of your nose.  As the septum was straightened, the support to the tip may have been weakened causing some asymmetries. Your concerns can be improved with a rhinoplasty.

Edward S. Kwak, MD
Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 28 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.