Does Nostril Surgery/Alar Reduction Change the Shape of Your Mouth? (photo)

I have an african american nose, but my mother is european. I would like my nostrils to be less round and stick out less, and would only like a slight change to make the nose look slightly smaller. Is this possible without altering the shape of my mouth/lips or without it looking fake? And what type of surgery would I need? Thank you!!

Doctor Answers 8

Alar Reduction Surgery Doesn't Change Shape of Lips

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Wedges removed from alar tissue can reduce the flare of your nose without altering at all the shape of your lips.  A second surgical maneuver that can narrow the nose and improve your tip definition would be to harvest cartilage from behind your ear and place it into your columella (that piece of tissue between the two nostrils).  This cartilage from your ear can be folded on itself and inserted through the upper lip into the columella and up towards the tip of your nose.  This increased projection of the columella gives your nose better tip definition, improves the lip/nose angle (which gives the illusion of a shorter nose), and this also decreases nostril flare, and BTW, improves your breathing. 

Since your racial extraction is cosmopolitan, there are several other questions that could be answered by an in person, physical exam.  I recommend you seek consultation from a Board Certified plastic surgeon experienced in both the Caucasian and non-Caucasian rhinoplasty. 

Alar Reduction Changes Shape Of Mouth

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It's very possible that alar reduction would change the shape of your mouth. In fact, this is very common in African-American patients undergoing a rhinoplasty. To avoid this, it's best that you schedule a consultation with a board certified facial plastic surgeon to gain a better understanding of which types of surgery best fit your needs.

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

Does Nostril Surgery/Alar Reduction Change the Shape of Your Mouth?

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Rhinoplasty to change the shape of your nose, reduce nasal flare and narrow the base would not change the shape of your mouth. To determine what would be most beneficial for you, you would require a consultation to get more views of the shape of your nose.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Alar reduction does not change shape of mouth

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Alar reduction can simply narrow the shape of the nostrils through incisions placed at the bottom sill of the nose.  This can be done under a local or a general anesthesia and takes approximately a half an hour.  It will not change the shape of the mouth.

Does Nasal Surgery affect the shape of the lips/mouth?

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The short answer is no in most cases. The apparent lip length can be affected by rhinoplasty in certain instances but in no case should it affect lip shape. It seems that you are interested in subtle refinement of your nose with a natural appearing result. That is reasonable and probably achievable. An in depth consultation with a plastic surgeon skilled in Rhinoplasty surgery will inform an educate you as to your options and what can and cannot be done with your unique nasal anatomy. It also gives you the ability to be very specific about what you are looking for. Best of Luck  Dr Harrell

Shape of Mouth after Rhinoplasty

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Rhinoplasty, including nasal base surgery and/or nostril modification will not change the shape of your mouth. It is difficult to make any recommendations when we can only see part of your nose; better pictures would be helpful.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

African American Tip Rhinoplasty

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Your question is a good one and the answer is that the shape of your lips and mouth will not change by having your nose and nostrils worked on.  No matter how minor the change, you have to maintain balance between the different parts of the nose.  Making the nostrils narrower/smaller by a little would be okay, but it may also throw it out of balance with the tip or bridge of the nose which may then appear too wide.  Your nostrils do not appear wide enough to have isolated narrowing and still maintain good proportions. 


Most likely, any change in the size of your nostrils should also be accompanied by some refinement of the tip and bridge.  This does not have to be a major change, but aims to keep your nose looking natural and balanced.

Ramin Behmand, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Does Nostril Surgery/Alar Reduction Change the shape of your Mouth

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Nostril surgery does not change the shape of your mouth. I am only seeing a portion of your nose but I am guessing that it is also slightly flat as well. You would benefit from a rhinoplasty with nasal narrowing and possibly some dorsal height. I must also tell you that because of the thickness of your skin you should not expect to get much definition. Although you would only like small changes your surgery requires special skills. I would consult with a Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon in person. Look at before and after photos and ask the surgeon to show you noses that look similar to yours. 

David Alessi, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 16 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.