Is It Possible to Reduce the Thickness of the Alar Itself?

Like most Asian women that seek rhinoplasty, I have very thick alar. I heard that there is no technology that can reduce the thickness of the alar. But I heard this only from people who got rhinoplasty done in different parts of Asia. Most cosmetic surgeons in Asia still like to use L-shaped and flat nose implants, which personally shows me that they are still not up to date with newer cosmetic surgery methods. Do we in the U.S. have the technology to reduce the wings of the nose?

Doctor Answers 12

Narrowing the Alar

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 To my knowledge and experience, there is no way to narrow overly thick alar.  Narrowing the nostrils through Weir incisions can help make the tip appear thinner, but this is not going to narrow the actual alar rims.

Miami Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

Alar thickness reduction

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It is possible to thin the alar thickness.  You must be carefull with this due to the possibility of scarring and contour deformity.   Make sure your surgeon has done these before.  Donald R. Nunn MD  Atlanta Plastic Surgeon.

Donald Nunn, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Alar thickness

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If you mean thickness of the skin of the nasal ala, then defatting or removing tissue below the skin would be full of problems. If you mean the widdened base of the nose there are several procedures to correct this

David A. Bray, Sr., MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon

Reducing alar thickness

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Dear Genuine,

Reducing the thickness of the alar skin is tricky.  There is additional fibrofatty tissue that can be thinned, but care must be taken not to thin the skin too much as scarring and deformity will result and that is very difficult to correct.  A conservative approach is definitely advisable in this.  With regard to narrowing the alae, this can be done very easily and is done through incisions at the base of the nose where the ala meets the upper lip in the alar groove. 

Gregory Branham, MD
Saint Louis Facial Plastic Surgeon

Several different alar reductions are possible

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"Thick" ala can mean the nostril edges, or the back of the nostril (where it attaches to your cheek).  Each one can be improved.

The nostril sidewall itself can theoretically be thinned by removing the tissue inside, but I have not been impressed that this procedure does much--the skin often can't shrink enough.

Better than that is an actual excision of the nostril thickness, leaving a scar at the very edge of the nostril.  I have never seen or heard of a bad scar in this area, but as an Asian you may ave some temporary hyperpigmentation of the scar that will have to be managed.

The back of the nostril can also be removed--in your case probably by removing only the surface thickness without actually reducing nostril size (which might make your tip look fatter by comparison).

As always, find an experienced surgeon whom you like.  Best of luck.

Mark B. Constantian, MD, FACS
Nashua Plastic Surgeon

Reducing alar thickness

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Absolutely, yes it can be done. It is a direct excision that removes the central portion of the alar wall. This results in a thinner ala. The scar heals quite well as long as the incision has been made cleanly and not at an angle. 

Charles S. Lee, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

Alar Base Reduction

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Asians undergoing Asian Rhinoplasty commonly seek to decrease the width of the alar base at the same time to give a more refined result that still fits their face.  This procedure can be done in the doctor's office under local anesthesia so that you are awake during the procedure.

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

Reducing alar thickness

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Reducing alar width can be achieved using incisions at the alar base. Reducing alar thickness however depends on which layer of the ala is contributing to the thickness, whether it is skin/dermis, fibrofatty, muscle, or cartilage layers. Each of these areas are treated differently whether it be in a medical or surgical fashion. There are of course limitations to what can be achieved. I would happy to provide a comprehensive evaluation and discussion of possibilities for your particular case. Take care.

Thomas T. Le, MD
Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Rhinoplasty can reduce the size of the alar base.

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 You can reduce the size of the alar base using incisions on the inside or outside (I prefer inside) of the alae.  Reducing the tissue, or bulk, or the alae themselves can lead to deformity of the alae and most surgeons will not perform this procedure as part of a Rhinoplasty.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Isolated Alar Thickness Reduction

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Hi Gen,

Yes, the thickness of the ala may be reduced through direct excision techniques.  Best to consult with a few rhinoplasty specialists and then choose your surgeon most carefully.

Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 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.