Nostril Reduction Technique Throught the Mouth?

I consulted a doctor a week ago for an ethnic Rhinoplasty (I am African american). He told me he reduces nostril going through the mouth (in front of my front teeth, through my gums..I believe he uses a string technique). I would like to have information on this procedure. I never heard of it. Is it good for African American noses? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 7

Can reduce the width of the nostrils through the inside of the mouth

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Your surgeon is referring to a technique whereby a stitch is placed across the base of the nose. This is done through the tissues which are between your nose and the inside of the mouth.

The idea is that this stitch will hold things together and make the base of the nose appear more narrow.

There are some risks asssociated with this procedure which you should be aware about. One risk is that the stitch can loosen with time and your nose will become more wide again. Another risk is infection. The stitch can get infected. Another risk is for one side to be pulled in more than the other side. This would create an asymmetry. Lastly, if there is an excessive amount of pulling, the base of the nostrils could appear like they are being pinched in.

You should discuss this with your surgeon. Also, make sure your surgeon can show you pictures of his/her results using this technique so you understand what it is going to accomplish.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews


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There are many ways to narrow the notrils, and this is one of them.  I agree, you want to avoid the overdone nose like MJ had. You need to evaluate the nostrils in the context of your face. Take your picture, print it and draw a line down from the inside of the eyes on each side. If the nostrils fall outside of these lines, they can be considered to be too wide. Next, if they are wide, you need to decide three things: are the openings large or small? Is the fleshy part the reason the nostrils are wide? Or, are the openings large and the fleshy parts large so that BOTH need to be addressed?  Each finding requires a different approach, so be sure to find an experienced surgeon to avoid the overdone look you are cautious to avoid.  Many  aesthetic  plastic  surgeons  feel  rhinoplasty  is  the  most  artistic and difficult cosmetic surgical procedure. I agree. Every change the surgeon makes has three-dimensional aspects that instantly alter other areas of the nose, like the ripple effect from a single stone cast into a quiet pond. As if that wasn’t enough, the nose swells during the procedure, obscuring landmarks, and some- times heals unpredictably. A limited number of experts specialize in rhinoplasty, so do your homework. With rhinoplasty, the touch-up rate is a solid 15 percent nationally.  All the best, "Dr. Joe"


It depends on how wide the nose is.

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 This works with some noses. However, if the nostrils are very wide, you will need removal of some of the skin in the floor of the nostrils. See an experienced rhinoplasty surgeon who does a large number of Afro-American noses: and does them well!

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Nostril reduction through the mouth

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Dear Mahalia,

The procedure you describe does NOT reduce the size of the nostrils as much as it reduced the flare (the base of the arch). It involves going through the mouth and stitching the base of EACH nostril with a stitch which is then tightened and tied when the right amount of nostril narrowing was achieved.

The operation can be used for mild flaring of the nostrils but not for very wide flaring as is sometimes seen with African or Mexican Mestizo noses. When attempting to narrow these bases, the upper nasal arch grows taller and rounder further increasing the ethnicity of the nose. In such patients, a WEIR EXCISION, an excision of a small wedge of nostril skin nicely reduces the flaring.

Without pictures on an exam it is impossible to say which procedure is best suited for you but be aware that sutures break, rode or may become infected so that results based only on a suture may not be permanent.

Hope this was helpful.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Alar base cinch suture

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Placing a suture across the base of the nostrils is a technique to help bring in the width of the base of the nose. I assume that this is what was described to you by your surgeon.

The other method to reduce nostril flaring and width is to remove a wedge of tissue from the nostril sill and base. This method does have some scarring although it is usually very obscure. This method has the advantage of being permanent and not as prone to losing the correction.

If you need a significant reduction then I believe the tissue resection is more effective but if the width reduction is not too larger then a cinch suture would work.

Best Wishes

Dr. Peterson

Marcus L. Peterson, MD
Saint George Plastic Surgeon

Ethnic Rhinoplasty

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Your surgeon may be referring to a technique that involves placement of a permanent suture horizontally across the base of the nose. The intention is to bring the nostril base closer together. The incision is made under the upper lip and through the gums because of the relatively direct access this affords. It also helps to avoid external incisions. It just happens to be one of many techniques that can be used to narrow a wide nasal base (flared nostrils).

John M. Hilinski, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Nostril reduction through mouth is not recommended

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Nostril reduction, or alarplasty, is performed through an incision at the alar base. It is called an alar base reduction. Using a bunching suture through the mouth will only bunch up skin and can make the upper lip look puckered. It is not a good idea to have that done. If the string breaks the nostrils will return to their pre-surgery anatomical position.

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.