Can I improve my breathing and fix my asymmetric nostrils? (photos)

Years ago, I had trauma to the right side of my nose at the juncture of the nasal bone and upper lateral cartilage and was told my nose was fractured. My upper lateral cartilage has sunken in and as a result my breathing on that side of my nose is diminished. Also the nostril on the right side of my nose has retracted and is higher on that side leaving my nostrils to look asymmetrical. Is there anything that can be done to not only restore function but also to restore symmetry to my nose?

Doctor Answers 6

Rhinoplasty surgery may be considered to restore form and function after nasal trauma.

Your photos appear to show a wide nasal appearance and a dorsal hump. Your concern about nostril asymmetry is difficult to appreciate. One cause of nostril asymmetry after trauma is a deviated nasal septum. Consider consulting with several reputable rhinoplasty specialists so you could see what might be best for you. Thank you. Dr Joseph

West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 418 reviews

Can I improve my breathing and fix my asymmetric nostrils?


Thank you for your question. 

There are different kinds of rhinoplasty operations however we can divide them as the one that requires bone excision and the one that does not need bone excision. The main fact that we classify the rhinoplasty operations like that is that the results and postoperative period is associated closely with this fact. In the operations like “nasal tip correction”, “simple rhinoplasty” there is no need for a bone excision however these minor operations cannot be beneficial for everyone. The operation type is need to be determined by the surgeon according to needs of the patient. In these minor operations the rhinoplasty is performed with closed method. The bone and the cartilage tissues are not involved in the surgery directly. Small nasal bumps can be removed in these operations.

In the operation that needs the bone and cartilage tissues to be involved; open approach is used. In the procedures with open approach, the size, shape and functionality of the nose can be improved. The big nasal bumps can be removed and septal deviations can be corrected providing a better nasal airway.

Bulent Cihantimur, MD
Turkey Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Rhinoplasty candidate, some advices:

Thank you very much for sharing your concerns with us.

The harmony between facial parts makes us instinctively recognize the beauty... without knowing it, without defining it, just a perception that surprises and captivates us.

In this regard, I suggest perform a Closed Rhinoplasty (without visible scars) to treat the tip, base and nasal bridge.
With this procedure you get a delicate nose, better harmonize with your other facial features.

Dr. Emmanuel Mallol Cotes.-

Emmanuel Mallol Cotes, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 256 reviews

Rhinoplasty candidate

A rhinoplasty procedure can accomplish making the nostrils more symmetrical, shaving down the dorsal hump, and adding a spreader graft to the sunken upper lateral cartilage. Functional internal nasal surgery can also be performed to improve airflow through the nose, which must be determined at time of examination. Medical necessity must be documented in addition to pre-authorization before submission to a medical insurance for payment. For more information many examples, placing a link and the video below

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 143 reviews


Hello and thank you for your question. Based on your photograph, you may benefit from spreader grafts to help improve your breathing.  There are many techniques which can be used to fix nostril asymmetry including lower lateral cartilage sutured and alar batten grafts.  Make sure you specifically look at before and after pictures of real patients who have had this surgery performed by your surgeon and not just a computer animation system. The most important aspect is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with. I recommend that you seek consultation with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

Richard G. Reish, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 126 reviews


It looks like you could benefit from a rhinoplasty for both functional and cosmetic reasons. Best of luck!

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 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.