Will I look different after nasal valve collapse surgery?

I will be getting a septoplasty as well as a rhinoplasty for nasal valve collapse. I have voiced to my ENT that I do not have any desire to look different. He told me that I would be able to tell some difference but it would be minimal and most people wouldn't be about to tell the difference. He said it would look slightly "fuller" in the area that now collapses with inspiration. In your experience how much, if any, of a change is there when no change is desired, thank you.

Doctor Answers 9

Will surgery for Nasal Valve Collapse Change My Appearance?

This entirely depends on the type of problem (external vs internal nasal valve) you have and the technique (grafts vs sutures or others) that your surgeon plans to use for correction. If grafting for the external valves (alae) are placed below the natural lower lateral cartilage, then most of the time there will be negligible noticeable change to your appearance. However, sometimes graft placement requires a larger graft or placement in the space between the lower an upper lateral cartilages. This can cause some noticeable fullness in certain patients. Spreader grafts for internal nasal valves are usually placed for narrow or concave collapse. There should be an appearance change, but with improvement in appearance of the collapsed segment. Share your concerns with your surgeon and revisit this issue so as to best understand how things are planned to work in your case. Consider a second opinion if you feel you need more information. 

Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Minimal nasal changes in appearance after internal nasal valve surgery

In general, there are very little changes that occur cosmetically during nasal valve surgery. The changes that do occur actually can make the nose look better and more symmetric. The middle third of the nose can look slightly indented with internal valve collapse. Spreader grafts actually improve this narrowing and make the dorsum look straighter. (From what you describe, it sounds like your surgeon is planning spreader grafts.)

Theda C. Kontis, MD
Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Nasal Valve surgery

There is usually a reason for narrowing of the internal nasal valve such as trauma or previous rhinoplasty surgery.  There are a number of was to reconstruct the internal nasal valve and almost every technique will change the shape of your nose in some way.  It is important that you stress your concerns to the surgeon to ensure the changes to your nose are limited.  In most cases the change to the external appearance of your nose will be minimal unless the deformity is severe.

James B. Lowe III, MD
Oklahoma City Plastic Surgeon
3.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Nasal valve repair

It doesn't sound like you are having a rhinoplasty rather functional reconstruction of the nose.  The answer to your question will depend on whether your surgeon is repairing collapse of the internal or external nasal valves.  In either case, some fullness in the area of repair can be expected as the idea of nasal valve repair is to provide not only structure to the weak nasal cartilages, but to also increase the cross sectional area of the nasal valves which would slightly increase the size of the nasal valve area reflected in the appearance of the external parts of the nose.

Philip S. Schoenfeld, MD, FACS
Chevy Chase Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Rhinoplasty for nasal valve collapse surgery

Cartilaginous spreader grafts are usually placed for patients who have valve collapse and vestibular stenosis whether it's either static or dynamic. The cartilage is harvested from inside nose and placed  underneath the concave upper lateral cartilage  that is blocking air flow. For more information and many examples, please see  the link and video below

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

Change in nasal shape after repair of nasal valve collapse

Thank you for your question.  Remember, you should always address any concerns with your primary surgeon.  In my experience, using spreader grafts to correct nasal valve collapse always results in a slight change in the shape of the nasal dorsum into a more pleasing frontal profile.  I hope this answers your questions.  Best wishes in your endeavors!


James Fernau, MD, FACS

Board Certified ENT

Board Certified Plastic Surgery

Member of ASPS, ASAPS, ISAPS, The Rhinoplasty Society, AAFPRS, OTO/HNS, ASLMS

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Rhinplasty for nasal valve repair

This question is almost impossible to answer as it very much depends on the starting point of your nose, the problem you have, the procedure being performed, and the skill level of your surgeon. Generally, however, a rhinoplasty for nasal valve repair will always lead to minor cosmetic changes/improvements. By definition, a rhinoplasty will slightly alter the shape of your nose. That said, such changes can be very minimal and barely perceptible, or they can be rather noticeable if so desired. Good luck!

Thomas J. Walker, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

There should be minimal change in appearance

There is a chance that with either internal or external valve procedures you would notice some increased fullness in the nose, especially if grafts are being used.  However, most people would not notice this change.

John Zannis, MD
New Bern Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Nasal valve repair.

There are two nasal valves, internal and external.  Internal valve collapse is a more common scenario and is usually repaired with placement of spreader grafts.  If this is the case, I would agree with your surgeon in that the will be a mild widening in the middle third of your nose, but is usually pretty minimal, and would not be all that noticeable, when done well.  If external valve repair is planned, this is much more variable.  There are several ways to address this issue, and most would change the appearance of your nostrils, usually for the better if you are truly having external valve collapse.  I would check with your surgeon to verify what is planned.

John Harbison, MD
Omaha Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 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.