My Nostrils Close when I Breathe Through my Nose?

I have a few things wrong with my nose and i'm eager to get rhinoplasty, but recently i noticed my nostrils close when i breathe through my nose. Is this normal and will rhinoplasty help, or will i require extra surgery? Thank you

Doctor Answers 10

What can be done to support collapsing nostrils?

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This is not uncommon. Small cartilage graft can be used to add structure and support to your nostrils or anywhere else it is needed at the time of rhinoplasty. It is critically important to find an experienced rhinoplasty surgeon who can create the changes you want in the appearance of your nose without further compromising your breathing. I hope this information is helpful.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Pinched or Collapsed Nostrils when Breathing through Nose

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Pinched or collapsed nostrils when breathing through the nose often gives the symptoms of congestion or difficulty breathing. Rhinoplasty is often required to improve the condition, with surgery on the outside of the nose, inside, or both. Cartilage may be placed to support the nostrils to prevent them from collapsing. Alternatively, a septoplasty for a deviated septum will open the nostrils from the inside reducing the collapse on inspiration.

Only after a comprehensive evaluation by a board-certified surgeon can help determine appropriate options for you. Ideally, one would have one nasal surgery to address both the cosmetic and functional breathing concerns, instead of two separate procedures. Best of luck.

Dr. Chaboki


Houtan Chaboki, MD
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Nostrils Close with Breathing In

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From what you describe, you are experiencing nasal airway obstruction with nostril valve collapse when you breathe in.  Your underlying anatomy needs to be addressed to support the nasal valve to prevent collapse using grafts.  The rhinoplasty will address any external features you wish to change. Please consult with a board certified specialist who can address the functional aspect of your nose as well as the aesthetic appearance.  Not all rhinoplasty surgeons are experienced in addressing the inside of the nose.

Kimberly Lee, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Nostril collapse upon inspiration

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 One or both nostrils can collapse upon forceful inspiration which is normal. When collapse of the  nostrils occurs upon normal inspiration, surgical improvement of the nose can be performed with a combination of spreader grafts, alar batten grafts and  alar rim grafts.The grafts are  harvested from  septal cartilage inside the nose. These  are done for functional rhinoplasty. Cosmetic rhinoplasty can also be done at same time.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Nostrils closing with breathing, nasal obstruction, internal nasal valve collapse

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Most patients who experience collapse of the nostril with inspiration also has a complaint of nasal obstruction.  The collapse occurs most often at the internal nasal valve, which is the most narrow portion of the nasal airway.  When this    finding occurs preoperatively it is important to strengthen this area during surgery to avoid postoperative symptoms of obstruction.  Strengthening this area is performed with a small strip of cartilage that can be harvested from the nasal septum at the time of surgery.  This is referred to as an alar batten. 

Edward Farrior, MD
Tampa Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Nostrils Closing While Breathing In

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This observations is not that unusual in patients seeking combined functional and cosmetic nose work. This usually implies a weakness in the cartilage structure of the nose near the nasal tip region. It can often times be corrected by reinforcing this cartilage with additional cartilage taken from inside of the nose (a process termed cartilage grafting). Make sure you consult with a board certified facial plastic surgeon who has a background in the functional aspects of rhinoplasty surgery.

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

Nasal function can be addressed during rhinoplasty surgery

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Nasal appearance and function can be addressed during rhinoplasty surgery. The nose has both internal and external nasal valves which can collapse during inspiration. The collapse of the nostrils is considered external valve collapse. Cartilage grafts can be harvested from the septum or ear and  used to improve this collapse. When selecting your surgeon, be sure  that they are skilled in addressing both the form and function of your nose, as not all rhinoplasty surgeons have this expertise.

Theda C. Kontis, MD
Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Nostril closing during breathing

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Reconstruction of your nose should be performed with attention to both appearance and function.  The surgeon should carefully examine all aesthetic and functional needs, and the surgical plan should maximize your functional breathing.  This may often involve small cartilage grafts to support the lateral nasal walls, and prevent postoperative nasal valve collapse.

Jonathan Sykes, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Rhinoplasty and nostril collapse

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At the time of your rhinoplasty, the collapse of yoru nostrils can be addressed as well. They made need support with grafts.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Rhinoplasty and Nostril Collapse

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    All of your other concerns can be addressed with a rhinoplasty as well as nostril collapse.  If you have what is called external valve collapse, this can be corrected at the same time that everything else is done.  Find a board certified plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of rhinoplasties each year.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

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.