Reshape nostril opening to match the other? Cleft lip (Photo)

I had a fairly minor cleft on one side of my face. I have had the my final surgery on my lip. My nostril on the affected side is a slightly more round shape than the unaffected side. I need like a centimeter of skin off the top of the nostril to make it like the move oval, natural side. I'm not even sure what type of procedure this would be considered, the doctor who did my surgury told me not to worry about it but I am, I want a mpre symmetrical face.

Doctor Answers 2

Reshape nostril opening to match the other?

Hello! Thankyou for your question.

Achieving symmetry in the nose for cleft lip patients is not easy and absolute symmetry may not be possible.

However looking at your picture I think it could be improved. The nostril and its margins are made of skin and fibrofatty tissue but it is supported centrally in the columella (strut between the two nostrils) by cartilage which also extends from the top of the nostril upwards and slightly outwards. The complex nature of the anatomy makes adjustment more technical but it is possible. You require a detailed analysis but again, looking at the picture I can see that the right side of the nose tip, nostril wall and nostril base sit slightly further back than the left side which is a common finding in cleft patients. Rather than take tissue away I would think that it would be best to realign the elements to try to improve symmetry by supporting the right nostril base to bring it forwards and to realign the cartilages so that they are sitting more symmetrically, perhaps bring the right nostril base in with a tiny narrowing of the sill of the nostril at the floor of the nostril. By doing these adjustments the nostril shape and symmetry should improve naturally.

It would be best to seek advice from an experienced cleft lip and palate surgeon or team.

I hope that this information was helpful.

Best wishes


London Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Reshaping nostril

The procedure you are describing is what we call a cleft rhinoplasty.  The goal of rhinoplasty is to help open up the nose to improve breathing and to help it become as symmetric as possible.  It will never be exactly the same as the non cleft side, but there are ways to improve it. When choosing a doctor, make sure you choose one who has training in craniofacial surgery and is familiar with cleft surgery.Best of luckDr Rodman

Regina Rodman, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

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