How Can I Fix my Turned Up Nose?

The bridge of my nose is sloped so the tip is turned up at the end. My nostrils are very visible and I hate it. What are my options for getting this fixed? Is nose surgery the only way, or do I have non surgical options?

Doctor Answers 22

Turned up nose (over-rotation)

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Turned up nose or over-rotated nose is commonly seen after an aggressive reduction rhinoplasty followed by tissue contracture, but can also exist for patients who never had any nasal surgery in the past. There are several options both non-surgical and surgical, depending on one's anatomy.
Non-surgical (limited): If the dorsum (bridge of the nose) is concave (sloped), adding fillers such as Radiesse can give an allusion of a longer nose (nasal lengthening). This however, will do very little for the nostrils that are visible.
Surgical: Correction of an over-rotated nose is one of the most difficult procedures for any facial plastic surgeon. Several things need to happen for a succesful outcome. First, there must be enough skin to drap the lengthening of the nose. To accomodate this, patients will be asked to exercise stretching of the skin by pulling on the nasal skin for several weeks. Second, an augmentation is often necessary by using an implant (rib, gore-tex etc) to address the sloping of the dorsum. Lastly, a de-rotating (less turning -up) tip grafts or tip extension grafts are necessary not only to lengthen the nose but also to show less of the nostrils.
This type of surgery should be reserved for the most experienced rhinoplasty surgeons.

Virginia Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

How to drop the nasal tip down

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The angle that the nasal tip makes with the upper lip when viewed from the side is medically referred to as "rotation." Your problem appears to be one of "over-rotation" which results in increased nostril visibility. In the context of nasal problems, this is a relatively uncommon one.

Defining the "best" nasal tip position is a very subjective idea. Many things play into the determination of whether your nasal tip is in the best possible place for you. The height of the bridge (where a bump usually is) often determines the best tip placement: a higher bridge usually goes best with a lower tip and vice-versa. The age of the patient is considered, as older patients typically want a longer, more elegant nose. The ethnicity of a patient is considered, as there are certain traits more typical to different groups of people. The height of a patient is usually considered, as shorter people can tolerate a more upturned tip (most people are going to be looking down at them, rather than up). A patient's facial shape helps to determine the optimal length for their nose, which is also related to the degree of rotation. Also, some people have jobs, such as waiters and airline workers who spend a lot of time interacting with people that are sitting while they stand. Considering a person as a whole in this manner typically results in the best decision for both the patient and the surgeon.

You describe a situation that is more common after previous surgery. However, certain ethnic groups - asian, african american, latino, and some caucasians - have characteristically shorter and more up-turned noses.

Since the biomechanical structure of the nasal tip exists in order to hold it up, de-rotating the nose is harder than lifting it. There are several surgical options that can be used, depending on your specific anatomy. They often give subtle, not extreme, correction of your problem. Sometimes the nose appears over-rotated due to a long nasal septum, which pushes out the columella (the skin that separates the nostrils). Shortening the septum can allow the nose to assume a more natural position.

I am not aware of any non-surgical options, other than filler injections to the nasal bridge. This may provide the illusion of dropping the tip, but it will not correct your nostril visibility. Botox might be used to derotate the tip, but it will likely create nasal obstruction as a side affect.

Fixing an up-turned nose

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A short and overly upturned nose can give an unnatural appearance to the nose. Short noses typically have too wide of an angle between the nose and the upper lip. In an ideal nose, this angle (called the nasolabial angle) is in the range of 95- 105 degrees for women and 90-95 degrees for men. Correction of a short and upturned nose typically requires changing the framework of the nose to make the nose appear longer. The intended result is a nose that is more harmonious with the rest of the face and has a natural and aesthetically pleasing angulation.

This young woman felt that her nose was too upturned and wanted a more natural and softer appearance. After rhinoplasty surgery the tip of the nose is not lifted up as much and appears less prominent and more feminine in appearance. Less of her nostril is visible.

Here is another example of an overly turned up nose with excessive show of nostrils that was improved with a primary rhinoplasty:

Today there are several new techniques that can push the...

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Today there are several new techniques that can push the nose tip down, whether it is naturally turned up or the result of a previous surgery. In either situation, structural cartilage and grafting techniques are now performed to push the tip down in the event it has scarred or is naturally upturned. Extended spreader grafts and dorsal onlay grafts can help push the nose tip down. For many examples, please see the link below

"Piggy nose"

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Your complaint is a common one in patients seeking revision rhinoplasty. But even if you have never had a rhinoplasty before, some patients are born with upturned noses.

The solution is known as derotation of the tip. Adding length to the top of the nose is usually the only means by which the tip cartilages can be rotated down. Multiple techniques such as dorsal onlay grafting (with rib cartilage), extended spreader grafts, and suture techniques are often combined with extensive skin release and undermining to set the tip down and keep it there. The surgeon has to combat internal forces in the nose and changes that internal scarring can create to keep the position of the tip stable. This is typically a difficult maneuver. Make sure your surgeon is comfortable with revision rhinoplasty techniques.

Fixing an upturned nose with rhinoplasty

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There are a variety of rhinoplasty techniques for fixing an upturned (over-rotated) nose. The basic principle is to bring the tip of the nose down, restoring a more normal angle between the upper lip and the nose. This angle should be 90-95 degrees in men and 95-105 degrees in women, ideally.

The tip can be counter-rotated by shortening the medial crura of the tip (lower lateral) cartilages, which sit behind the columella, the portion of the nose between the nostrils. This maneuver, called a medial crural overlay, will also reduce the projection of the nose, the degree to which it sticks out horizontally. from the face. 

Another commonly used technique in rhinoplasty is to place extended spreader grafts, long straight pieces of cartilage which are sutured to the septum and push the tip downwards. These grafts may be taken from the septum or from rib cartilage, if the septal cartilage has been previously utilized. 

Visibility of the nostrils should improve with the techniques I mentioned above. Additional maneuvers, such as the placement of  rim grafts, can also lower the nostril rims. 

There are no effective non-surgical ways to counter-rotate the nose and reduce the visibility of the nostrils. If your issue were simply building up your bridge to make your nose appear less scooped, this may be achieved with the use of filler, however, I would caution you to avoid any permanent fillers in this area. 

Best of luck,

Dr. Mehta

I assume that you never had a rhinoplasty before,...

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I assume that you never had a rhinoplasty before, because these are often the complaints of some patients that I see for secondary rhinoplasty procedures (operations performed after a patient's original rhinoplasty by another surgeon).

If the bridge is low, it can be augmented. If the nose is turned up, sometimes the nose can be de-rotated using several different techniques to bring it back down. Nostril visibility is often a complaint of patients undergoing secondary procedures, and there are a few ways to correct this as well.

How to fix an upturned nose

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There are a number of different techniques to fix an upturned nose.  It would be very difficult to describe exactly how the different procedures are done, but I use an open rhinoplasty approach to allow the tip of the nose to be derotated so that the nose is a bit longer and the nostrils are less visible.  

Jonathan Pontell, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Over rotated Tip concerns

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What you are describing is over rotation of the tip in the only correction for this is with nasal surgery.  Fortunately, this can be addressed using common rhinoplasty tip technique.  Sometimes an overly rotated tip and a low bridge may require nasal lengthening techniques such as extended spreader grafts or septal extension grafts.  

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

How To Fix A Turned Up Nose

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Rhinoplasty will be your main option with what you are describing. The surgery will likely require adding cartilage to the bridge and reconstructing the tip to lengthen it and improve the nostril show.

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